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Indian doctors barred from staying in the U.S. after graduate studies

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Indian-DoctorsSAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The Indian government has stopped issuing ‘no objection’ certificates to medical students from the country seeking to further their education in the U.S., effectively forcing them to stay in their home nation.

According to a recent report, around 4,000 doctors have applied for the certificate since 2010, which allows them to remain in the U.S. after completing their studies. The U.S. government has forced restrictions of its own, requiring students to return to their home countries for two years after completing studies.

However, the U.S. allows doctors to waive the two-year period for those who wish to remain in the country to practice medicine. This is only permissible for Indian-origin doctors if the Indian government issues them a ‘No Obligation to return to India’ certificate. The government has decided to halt issuance of such certificates for all doctors, except those age 65 or older, since August of last year.

Dr. Sagar Mundada, president of the Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors, described the decision as an “unconstitutional, retrograde move,” and has argued to the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court to have the decision reversed.

“Since the policy changed in 2011, it’s not clear how many were given no objection, but the fate for most hangs in balance now,” he said.

India’s government said the decision was made as a result the country’s need for 400,000 more doctors to meet the 1:1000 doctor-citizen ratio prescribed by the World Health Organization.

“Government is using doctors as a soft target when other professionals are allowed to leave the country and do not even have to serve a bond. Doctors are the only ones who serve a mandatory bond service in rural areas after graduation, and again after their masters, for a year each in Maharashtra. Government spends a fortune on IT titans, many of who leave the country for greener pastures, but they have no such service to perform,” said Mundada.

“Engineers and management graduates should also be asked to contribute a year’s service in the rural sector on development projects which will go a long way to nation-building. Improved infrastructure with their assistance, would improve primary health care accessibility in these areas too,” he added.

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