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The government has decided to deploy medical interns and doctors seeking higher education for covid duty. Also, it has said it will offer government jobs on a preferential basis to healthcare workers who have performed or commit themselves to at least 100 days of corona service.

India needs more hands on the deck to help our overburdened medical fraternity to deal with the surge in covid cases. Mobilizing those who may have just become doctors, or even interns yet to get their MBBS degrees, should relieve some of the pressure. Some of them, no doubt, would not be qualified to dispense medical advice on their own, but could provide healthcare under supervision. While selfless dedication has long been a cultural expectation of medical professionals, it’s a sign of realism that the Centre has thrown in an incentive in the form of an employment prospect. Many would prefer the permanence of a government job over a private practice. And, if the country is to expand its public healthcare capacity, as it must, much hiring lies ahead. India’s budgetary allocation for health, at under 2% of gross domestic product, needs to be enlarged. And we need many more doctors for our people.

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