To make up for the shortfall of doctors in rural areas, an alternative cadre that will work exclusively in villages is in the pipeline.
About 50 students from each state will be selected and taught in a rural setting for most part of the four-and-a-half years degree, to serve in their own district after graduation.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has the syllabus ready. “We have proposed that it be called MBBS (Rural), with some restrictions, such as the doctors cannot practice in urban areas for the first 10 years,” said Dr Ketan Desai, president, MCI.
After 10 years, the student can apply for a post-graduation medical degree.
If the idea is to encourage doctors with MBBS to work in rural areas, there ought to be simpler ways than branding a whole bunch of people as "inferior" doctors -- because that's what MBBS (Rural) would signify -- and unleashing them on villagers.
This is one case where both the doctors and the villagers deserve a better treatment.