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Rural & Tribal area doctors divided over in-service PG seats

Guntur: Unfilled postgraduate medical quota seats have led to a minor dispute between medical officers working in tribal and rural areas in the State. After a lot of deliberations and discussions, the government has agreed to provide an in-service quota from 2020-21 academic years for the benefit of doctors, but it has become an issue among the officials.

All 104 non-clinical seats could not be filled in 2021-22. Similarly, 121 seats were vacant out of 125 seats in 2017-18. When it comes to clinical seats, 208 seats were unoccupied out of 282 seats in 2021-22 and 99 seats out of 271 seats could not be filled in 2017-18.

The government has reportedly started an exercise to ensure that no PG medical seats be left unoccupied in the State. Sources said the higher officials were waiting for legal advice regarding the issue. According to the gazette released in 2021, out of 50 per cent seats in the State government quota, 30 per cent clinical and 50 per cent non-clinical seats will be exclusively allocated to in-service candidates. According to these orders, this facility will be for the doctors who have served at least 3 years in the government tribal institutes or 4 years in government rural institutes or at least 7 years in other government sectors.

Due to lack of sufficient eligible candidates, several in-service seats were left vacant for the past decade and many eligible were not interested in non-clinical. Dr NTR University of Health Sciences, assistant registrar, D Rama Krishna stated that the unfilled in-service seats will be added to respective categories of non-service seats and for the academic year 2022-23, the seats matrix was not finalised yet.

In this regard, the rural doctors have appealed to the government to reduce the service period of all the three service areas by one year.Dr P Ajay Kumar Reddy, a representative of rural area doctors said that many seats were unoccupied after counselling in the previous year, hence, they have requested the government to amend GO 150 to reduce the period by one year.

On the other hand, tribal area doctors said if the government accepted the request of rural area doctors it would affect them. They also suggested that the government conduct first counselling for them.Dr Dinesh, a representative of tribal area doctors, said that while their three-year period will be completed in January 2022, the three-year service GO 150 came in November 2021, due to which about 90 qualified medical officers working in tribal areas lost the opportunity to join PG courses.

He claimed that almost the same numbers have qualified this year and decreasing service year for rural area doctors will be unfair to them. Tribal area doctors at Chennaiahgutta in Eluru district met Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday, while he was on his tour in the district and explained their problem. According to them, the CM has assured them to continue the GO 150.