London, Dec 20 (ANI): Doctors in the northern Indian state of Bihar will be given free mobile phone services to try to cut down on their truancy, the government has said.
It reckons that many government-paid doctors neglect state work by performing private practice.
The basic aim behind the plan is to keep in touch with the doctors at all times. A tracker system will also keep tabs on their movement.
The doctors have been given strict instruction to keep their mobile phones on permanently, even if not on duty.
State Health Minister Nand Kishore Yadav told the BBC: "Through their mobile connections we'll be able to get in touch with them everywhere, anywhere. It will certainly help to improve the functioning of the government hospitals in the state."
The state health department has an agreement with the Indian government mobile provider BSNL for the required connections and about 800 have been released.
Following the plan, doctors will have unlimited talk time among themselves but there will be a bar on making outside calls.
The government will also keep tabs on the doctors' movements through mobile service provider tracking systems, said Yadav.
"We will know where the doctor is serving - at his place of posting or doing private practice. In this case we'll be able to take stern action," he said. (ANI)