The decision to guarantee job quota only for those medical graduates who have been beneficiaries of the government scholarships has drawn criticism from the self-financed students. The latter have rightly complained that it will be extremely difficult for them to find jobs if the policy is not altered immediately. The previous government issued the “doctors mobilising directive” on March 28 with a view to “make full use of the skilled doctors, who studied under government scholarships.” As per the guidelines, the scholarship holders, who sign a five-year agreement to serve the country upon completion of their course, have to work for a minimum of two years in government offices. Such doctors are sent to health posts and hospitals around the country, and they draw a salary ranging from Rs.9,000 to Rs.15,000.

Although it is not at all a bad idea to provide job guarantee to the government students, it discriminates against the self-financed doctors. This bias is meaningless in a country which requires as much medical expertise and manpower as possible. Each year only about 125 medical students go abroad on government scholarships. But a lot more spend their own money to finance their studies in foreign medical universities. According to the Ministry of Education and Sports, some 800 students went to China for medical studies this fiscal year alone. The right policy is to resort to open and free competition and incorporate the best students for the internship programmes in government-run clinics and hospitals by judging them purely on the basis of academic excellence and competence.