12-Dec-2006

Tharoor's Question

Writing about Indian doctors serving America's poor, he asks:
The easier route to a green card may not, however, be the only incentive for the foreign doctors. The New York Times wrote that many found greater professional opportunity in these blighted rural communities, less professional discrimination — and greater material comforts. Typical earnings, the newspaper reported, ranged from $80,000 to $2,00,000 a year. Only in America can you make that much by serving the poor.

No wonder Indian doctors prefer to work in Welch than in Warangal or Wardha. But must the Indian taxpayer subsidise them for seven years to do so? That's the question on which I'd welcome readers' views.

And though he leaves out "engineers and economists, scientists and scholars", I think the question should include them too. In a lot of cases they too are just following the money.

Here's a suggestion : let the government open new medicals colleges, provide them with good infrastructure, pay the faculty well, allow the best of only the non-general category students in - and have a clause making it mandatory for all students who study in them to serve in the villages for five years after finishing. Kill two birds with one stone.

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