Dr Rashmi Vishwakarma is a paediatrician practising in Bhopal, India. What is unique about her practice is that she does not charge any fees for a child whose either parent is serving in the Indian Army or is an Army veteran.
A sign at her clinic’s entrance says “No Consultation Fees for Kids whose Parents are in Army”. Dr Vishwakarma in fact does not charge any fees for serving or retired personnel from the Indian Airforce or the Indian Navy too.
Dr Vishwakarma says that since childhood she has had deep respect for the Armed Forces. In fact when she was in school, Dr Vishwakarma aspired to be in the Airforce and her school teachers helped her find out about the the scope for girls in the Airforce at that time.
In those days (1990s), women were only employed in the ground staff services in the IAF but Dr Vishwakarma wanted to become a fighter jet pilot hence didn’t pursue a career in that direction. She says now though that it was her lack of knowledge that led her to not go for ground services and for underestimating their work for the country.
Dr Vishwakarma says that even though she did not pursue a career in the Armed Forces, this feeling of gratitude that she felt for the Indian Army and the Armed Forces continued, and when she started her clinic, she made this rule that she will not charge consultation fees for their personnels’ kids.
In Dr Vishwakarma’s opinion, all civilians should respect the Army as we and our families are safe and able to have all the amenities because the Indian Army is safeguarding us in all the adverse situations.
“Each one of us must try to do our bit for Army personnel and their families. Their family too deserves a salute as they bear all the problems but still allow their family personnel to sacrifice his/her life for the wellbeing of their countrymen.”
Dr Vishwakarma says that many people liked this idea and appreciated this step especially the Army personnel with some even getting emotional when they read the sign at the entrance of her clinic. She says there were a few though who felt why she is not charging them fees as Army personnel get a handsome salary, to which her response was,
“This is the only profession where they are ready to scarifice their lives for strangers so I opt to do this little bit for them. Honestly speaking, Army people are high on self respect and they want to pay fees and not want waiving of the fees.”
Dr Vishwakarma completed her school and college education in Bhopal. To enhance her skills she has worked in different places like Gurgaon, Hyderabad and also the Maldives. She told The Australia Today why she became a doctor,
“I don’t have any medical background in my family. But due to my immense interest in medicine, I opted for this field. This is also a career where I can serve mankind and try to reduce their sufferings.”
Dr Vishwakarma also has an artistic bent and says that painting, sketching and other art forms give her happiness. She loves reading books and also enjoys gardening.
“I have seen my mom and grandma utilising each and every second, so I try to do that.”