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Increasing the course duration of MBBS is an election stunt: Medical Students' Association
The students of MBBS and intern doctors, all over the country have joined the nationwide protest against the proposal of Medical Council of India (MCI) to extend the period of MBBS course by two-and-half years. To register their protest against MCI, the junior doctors announced to boycott their classes till MCI reverts its decision. Around 300 medical colleges in India are protesting against this proposal by MCI.

Stating that the study of medicine is already quite lengthy and it takes an individual around 10 years to become specialist doctor, Dr. Manish Prabhakar, President of Indian Medical Students Association (IMSA), said, “It is the election time, and this is a kind of election stunt by the government. The government is trying to send a message to the rural masses that they are sending doctors to the rural areas to serve them, and are showcasing that doctors are not ready to serve in the rural areas. But, this is not true, we are ready to serve the rural population, but the government has to provide a proper infrastructure.”

He said that the infrastructure is not good at PSU level as there is no security and facility for the doctors.

"A doctor is also a human being, and they also have their own life, Government should keep this in mind. We are not opposing the rural service, but we are opposing the mandatory rule of service. They are saying that if you don't serve the people in rural area, then you are not eligible to write the PG entrance examination. If the government wants to make it mandatory, then we request them to do it after PG, because as a post graduate we can better serve the people," said Dr. Prabhakar.

He also explained about the course and its duration, saying, “MBBS course in already too lengthy, 5.5 years for MBBS, then preparation for PG entrance exam and then 3 years for MD/MS, and if you want to go for any specialization, you have to study for two or three years more. Once you enter an MBBS course you have to study for 10 to 15 years. Most of the people are from middle class, and they have lots of burden.”

Dr. Prabhakar concluded while saying, “If the government increases the duration of the course, then we won't recommend anyone to take this profession.”

Echoing the same views as of IMSA president, Dr. Debangshu Dam, a general physician said, “It should not happen, government should find better ways of providing rural health care. Medical students are already stretched. And if the government needs to improve the rural health care, then they should look at improving the infrastructure, instead of squeezing the poor students. To become a doctor it already takes so many years, it is the longest duration that any course takes.”

The rural areas which have a very low access to health care facilities remain significantly underdeveloped.

Anant Nevatia, President Rural Health Care Foundation appreciates this move by the government, “This is a very positive move by the government. Although they are intern doctors, they are far better than the quack doctors. This will help the rural population of the country.”

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