Published: 03rd November 2022
PGIMS Rohtak: IMA and FORDA take up cause of protesting students in solidarity
IMA has written a letter to the CM and HM of Haryana against the bond policy. It will join the Twitter storm along with FORDA
Solidarity pours in from the medical community for the Haryana MBBS students who are protesting against the state’s new bond policy at Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Federation of Resident Doctors’ Association (FORDA) have now taken up the cause of these students as they join in with the students' Twitter campaign in support. The IMA has also written a letter to the Chief Minister and the Home Minister of Haryana, requesting them to address the demonstrating students.
PGIMS Rohtak happens to be the nodal point for all the government college medical students of Haryana with the main counselling process being held there. However, owing to the recent chaos related to the bond policy, the counselling stands cancelled as per the demands of the protesting students. Among those protesting include students of the 2020 and 2021 batches and also the recent NEET-qualified students of the 2022 batch and their parents.
FORDA and IMA join in
The IMA wrote a letter today, November 3, addressed to the Chief Minister and Home Minister of Haryana. In the letter, the medical organisation requests for the resolution of the issue pertaining to the bond policy on meritorious students of Haryana’s government medical college who are asked to pay Rs 10 lakh per annum prior to them breaking any bond. “Meritorious students who are not financially strong enough are being forced to give up on their dreams of wearing a white coat because they cannot bear the burden of heavy fees on their young shoulders,” states the letter, further questioning, “When they have merit then why to pay 40 lacs?” The protesting students happen to be the top rankers of the entrance examinations. The letter also stated their solidarity with the medical students and that they are “zero tolerance” in case of violent action against them
The IMA’s Twitter handle also joined the Twitter campaign against the service bond for doctors that starts at 5 pm, today, November 3, saying:
“IMA-JDN Stands against the service bond policies being bulldozed to medicos. Join today at 5:00 PM, using hashtag #Bond_Free_Bharat”
FORDA also took to Twitter to say:
“We plan to take the pertinent issue of medical bond policy forward. Vehemently. We’ve already had a successful Twitter campaign recently, and the next one is tomorrow @ 5 pm. Let’s break the shackles together. A storm is coming. #Bond_Free_Bharat”
Background about the bond policy
The medical students of Haryana took to the streets to stage protests against the new bond policy of the state government which would require medical students of government colleges to pay a sum of Rs 10 lakh per annum along with their tuition fees as a part of a bond. The policy has been the subject of controversy since it was published in the 2020 Gazette by the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Haryana. Previously, the bond policy was only applicable when the doctors would not take up government jobs but the new policy requires the students to pay the amount during their course and without a job guarantee later. Despite the launch in 2020, students weren’t asked to pay the sum because of the pandemic, but now, fresh students who are taking admission in 2022, along with those from the 2020 and 2021 batches, are being asked to make the payments by the colleges. As per the policy, the doctors would have to work for a total of seven years in the government’s medical sectors after completing their degrees and the government would reimburse the amount only once when this term has concluded.
The state government decided to amend the bond policy yesterday, November 3, in response to the pressure from the MBBS students. They announced that no student would have to pay any bond money at the time of admission; now they only have to sign a bond-cum-loan agreement with their college and relevant bank for the amount. The amount will be funded if the student joined the state government service and worked there for seven years after their graduation. Those who choose not to work will have to personally fund the bond and would not acquire their degree till they reimburse their loan.
Students are not happy with the decision of the government. Akash Mehra, a PGIMS student, says, “We will have a meeting today to discuss the amendments and revisions.” Another senior student of the institute, Pankaj Bittu, questions the amendments, asking, ”Why the loan agreement? Why even have the bank in the picture?” He adds further, ”Amendment won’t do, the policy itself is the problem. It is a financial burden on the students because the loan is in their name. They are only trying to appease a section of the students but that is not the solution.” Other agitating students also echo Pankaj in their demand that the bond policy be completely reversed as the protest continues at the institute.