Saturday, June 27, 2009

Massive pay hike for doctors serving in rural areas

Seemi Pasha

INCENTIVE: A doctor posted in rural areas will get a pay hike between 25 to 50 per cent.
New Delhi: The government has come up with an attractive incentive scheme to woo doctors to serving in rural areas.

The remotest mountainous terrain or parts of the Naxalite-infested Red Corridor are places where doctors fear to tread.

Faced with a massive health care delivery system shortcoming in the Indian countryside, the Health Ministry is planning incentives for doctors.

To take doctors out their cities home and practice, the Health Ministry is offering an attractive salary hike for a rural posting which will be between 25 and 50 per cent.

While 25 per cent hike will be given to those posted in difficult areas, 50 per cent hike is for those areas that are almost unreachable by road.

The most difficult areas have been identified as Naxal-affected districts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, remote areas in the North-East, interiors of Jammu and Kashmir, the Thar Desert stretch of Rajasthan, Lakshwadeep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

"One the regulation or the compulsion to serve in rural areas more than monetary incentives we find the incentive for an admission to a post-graduate course seems to work quite effectively in getting doctors in rural areas," Ministry of Health Joint Secretary Amarjeet Sinha.

Different states have also been asked to grant incentives based on their specific requirements.

Specialists in the Andaman and Nicobar islands are being hired on a contract basis for a starting salary of Rs 55,000 per month.

In Madhya Pradesh paediatricians are being promised a start of Rs 35,000 per month while Chhattisgarh and Bihar governments have pledged assured housing for doctors.

In Assam and Kerala, doctors are being paid 50 per cent more salary for running evening OPDs in the public health centres.

The incentives are in addition to almost all states making rural posting compulsory for MBBS students seeking admission into a post-graduate programme.

The heath ministry is leaving no stones unturned in its bid to woo doctors for rural postings.

The National Rural Health Mission has figured prominently on the Prime Minister's 100-day agenda and incentives proposed are sure to make a difference on the ground.

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