As the impasse continued on the issue of reservations, the Group of Ministers created to deal with the issue forwarded its report to the prime minister on Saturday. It favours implementation of the quota for Other Backward Classes as soon as possible and recommends an increase in seats in elite educational institutions.
Toughening its stand, the health ministry warned that stringent action would be taken against medicos who continue to abstain from work to oppose the proposed 27 percent reservations for OBCs.
Advertisements appeared in the press for recruitment of doctors in central government-run hospitals. Officials said walk-in interviews would begin on Monday.
"The Group of Ministers held a meeting on Saturday and forwarded its report to the prime minister's office," a source said. The report favoured implementation of the quota for OBCs as soon as possible. However, it also recommended increasing the number of seats in educational institutes in a phased manner so that general category seats are not reduced.
The government said the setting up of new AIIMS-like institutions across the country would result in more seats for the general category, sources said.
"The Group of Ministers has worked out a formula to increase the number of seats as well as institutions to ensure that the general category remained unaffected while implementing the quota," a source said.
Meanwhile, the agitating doctors softened their stand on Saturday, modifying their demand for a committe to study the reservation issue.
"A judical committee was our demand. But now we are demanding for constituting an expert committee comprising members from non-political organisations to review the existing reservation policy and find out whether reservation for OBCs is required at all," said Vinod Patra, the president of Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS. "We also demand that any move for implementing reservation should be taken up after the committee submits its report."
The demand for a judicial committee was rejected by the government earlier. The other demands of the medicos include no penal action against the striking doctors and publication of a white paper by the government, making its stand clear on reservation.
Meanwhile, students of about 50 more institutions from across the country joined the strike.
Complete coverage: The reservation issue