New Delhi: In an attempt to ensure better healthcare facilities in rural India, Maharashtra cabinet on Monday proposed a bill to introduce 10 per cent reservation on MBBS and 20 per cent on medical post-graduation sets for in-service doctors who are willing to work in rural areas for five to seven years.

The Maharashtra government has decided to pass the bill to tackle the scarcity of doctors in government hospitals the interior parts of the state and bridge the doctor-patient gap in villages.

The reservation comes with the condition of mandatory completion of the course. Those who opt for the quota and fail to work in state-run hospitals after course completion may face up to five years of imprisonment and cancellation of medical degrees, a Times of India report stated.

“The decision has been taken to ensure that we have enough doctors to man the primary health centres and other rural health facilities in rural, hilly or remote areas. Students getting a seat under the quota will have to sign a bond,” said Dr TP Lahane, Head of Directorate of Medical Education and Research.

“Any breach would attract imprisonment if five years as well as cancellation of degrees. Only those with the state’s domicile certificate can opt for the quota,” he added.

According to primary estimates made by the Maha government, nearly 450-500 MBBS seats and around 300 in service PG seats could be earmarked with the help of this reservation. A similar rule already exists in the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune.