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Unfortunately, in the past the rural surgeons have never been organized in to any associations. They remained in the background, unnoticed and unrecognized despite their devoted service at an affordable cost and vital role in the health care of majority of the population. Association of Rural Surgeons of India (ARSI) is an association for such surgeons.

A group of seven practitioners who believe in the importance of improving and developing rural
surgery met in Shimoga, Karnataka on 22 November 1992, under the guidance of Dr. Balu Sankaran, Ex. D.G.H.S. GOI and Dr. N. H. Antia, Senior Plastic Surgeon, Director F.M.R. and adviser to GOI on health related policies. All felt that it was time to start an Association of Rural Surgeons of India (A.R.S.I.). The ARSI was formally launched at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, during its first conference in 1993.

ARSI aims to take appropriate surgery to the doorsteps of the rural population. Since ARSI believes that basic surgery can be learnt by MBBS doctors and specialists of allied surgical branches like the Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, Orthopaedicians, ENT surgeons etc, the membership has been opened to them. MBBS doctors who have been practicing surgery for five or more years are eligible for membership.