Rajasthan: Two fasting MBBS doctors admitted to hospital, but strike continues

The students are on a fast-unto-death strike demanding a hike in the number of posts under the Medical Officer Recruitment exam
Rajasthan MBBS doctors' Akrosh Rally | (Pic: Sourced)
Rajasthan MBBS doctors' Akrosh Rally | (Pic: Sourced)

The demand for an increase in the number of posts under the Medical Officer Recruitment exam has taken a tragic turn in Rajasthan. Two out of four students from the All Rajasthan Medical Doctors' Association (ARMDA), who are on a fast-unto-death strike in Jaipur, have been admitted to the ICU at SMS Hospital. Today, January 23 marks the fifth day of protest.

Meanwhile, six representatives, including ARMDA President Dr Vinod Bagra, were called to meet Dr Prithviraj Sankhala, Secretary, Medical Health and Family Welfare Department, Jaipur. Dr Bagra mentions though Dr Sankhala assured them that their demand would be conveyed to the Chief Minister, the protesting doctors are not satisfied, as they have been receiving such assurances for the last two months, without any changes being brought in.

Frustrated, the doctors launched a Akrosh (Agitation) Rally today evening, from Swasthya Bhavan in the city to Civil Lines Gate. "Police cracked down upon the protesting doctors and asked us to discontinue the rally. But we will keep at it till the government considers our demands," said Dr Bagra.

The protesters claim there are many unemployed doctors as well as vacancies for doctors in rural healthcare units. Due to this, recruitments under the competitive exam should be increased. The state government, on the other hand, said that the number of recruitments are calculated according to the designated posts and could not be increased. However, the doctors said the government had willingly increased the number in 2016 and 2018, and could similarly be done so now.

The situation has escalated into a political issue, with representatives from BJP accusing the ruling Congress for its policy-making, especially due to the fact that doctors from the state are also opposing the Right to Health Bill, which was introduced in the State Assembly recently. In opposition, JARD (Jaipur Resident Doctors' Association), along with other doctors' bodies, has called for a statewide closure of services in government medical colleges. These bodies have also shown support for the fasting MBBS doctors.

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