NMC’s advice to nix bond policy based on 7 case studies; of them 3 are from MP
Bhopal, Jan 25 (IANS) The National Medical Commission’s (NMC) recommendation to states and Union Territories to scrap the ‘seat-leaving bond’ policy in medical colleges has been made on the basis of seven case studies brought before it between 2020 and 2023.
Out of these seven cases studies, three are from Madhya Pradesh as the state Government has fixed a bond amount of Rs. 30 lakh for students who wish to leave their course midway. This policy is prevalent in both government-run and private medical colleges.
Out of the three case studies from Madhya Pradesh, one is the tragic case of Dr. Aakanksha Maheshwari, a 24-year-old junior doctor from Gwalior.
Dr. Aakanksha Maheshwari was pursuing her PG in paediatrics, and wanted to quit mid-session. She committed suicide at her hostel room in Bhopal’s Gandhi Medical College (GMC) in January 2023, as she was unable to pay the bond amount of Rs 30 lakh.
In her suicide note on WhatsApp, Dr. Maheshwari had written to her father, “Sorry Papa, if I had money, I could have left the seat.”
The second incident from Madhya Pradesh that became a part of the NMC’s case study took place in 2020.
An MS general surgery student wanted to take leave as his father had been hurt in an accident and had been hospitalized. However, instead of helping or being sympathetic to his cause he was threatened by his seniors either to provide a substitute or resign.
According to the NMC’s notification issued to the Principal Secretary, Health, Madhya Pradesh Government on January 19, “The student had to resign under mental stress after paying Rs. 30 lakh.”
The NMC’s notification, a copy of which is available with the IANS further read, “The student rejoined the college later by signing a fresh seat-leaving bond.”
In the third case related to a medical college in Madhya Pradesh, a female student from the Northeast who was pursuing MS general surgery faced mental harassment due to ragging and a toxic working environment. She had to leave the course midway after paying a hefty amount of Rs. 30 lakh as ‘seat leaving bond’ in 2022, which was against the principles of natural justice.
Therefore, the NMC’s recommendation for scrapping the ‘seat-leaving bond’ comes as a ray of hope for medical students pursuing their MBBS or PG degrees in Madhya Pradesh and around the country.
The concept of seat leaving bond was started to secure commitment, discourage abrupt resignations, and address the issue of seat blocking and wastage of medical seats.
The NMC’s study also includes two incidents from medical colleges in Maharashtra, and one each in Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
Medical students including junior doctors in Madhya Pradesh have been demanding nixing of the bond policy for several years as it has affected the lives of many medical students.
The MP Government, however, is yet to make any announcement in this regard.
A junior doctor in Bhopal’s Gandhi Medical College, the biggest medical institution of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Akash Soni, who is also pursuing his PG, told IANS, “In April 2023, we submitted our recommendation to the state government saying that students should be given ample time to decide after first counseling. Now, let’s see what the state government decides.”