THE MAHARASHTRA government on Monday decided to reserve seats in medical colleges for doctors serving in the public sector.
The state Cabinet sanctioned a proposal of reserving 10 per cent seats in undergraduate courses and 20 per cent seats in postgraduate courses as an incentive for students willing to put in compulsory regular service in rural, tribal, and rural government institutions for seven and five years, respectively.
The proposal was one among 37 decisions cleared by the Devendra Fadnavis Cabinet. With the model code of conduct for the Assembly polls expected to kick in soon, most of these were aimed at reaching out to various sections of voters.
Sources said that the plan to reserve seats in medical courses was to take advantage of the competition and desire among students to opt for admissions to medical colleges for improving rural recruitment of doctors and specialists.
Following the Cabinet nod, the state medical education department will now approach the state legislature for approval to the draft legislation. Sources said that the plan is to implement the incentive scheme from the next academic year.
A senior official said that recruiting and retaining qualified doctors in rural and tribal areas is a major challenge.
In the state, medical and dental graduates, postgraduates and super-specialty students from government-run colleges are required to spend a year at a state-run rural healthcare centre after the completion of their course. Students who don’t do so must pay a fine.
Other decisions at the Cabinet meet included a waiver of loans secured by farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada from private moneylenders.
Till now, farmers could only avail waivers of loans taken from banks or government-approved sources.
While officials claimed the waiver amount may run into about Rs 200 crore, the government underlined that it was a “one-time relaxation”.
Other decisions included a nod to revised costs for five major dam projects, including one that would bring additional water to Mumbai.