In a shocker, the Union government has asserted that there is no permission from the National Medical Commission (NMC) to accommodate Indian students, who were forced to flee from Ukraine earlier this year, in the medical colleges in India as of now.
Earlier this year, Russia executed a ‘special military operation’ on their neighbouring country Ukraine, resulting in the closing down of colleges, and leaving the future of the Ukraine-returned medical students in peril. According to official sources, about 20,000 Indian students, most of whom were pursuing medical courses in Ukraine, had to return back with the outbreak of war.
On Tuesday, while responding to a question, Union minister of state for health and family welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar said, “Foreign Medical Students/Graduates are either covered under “Screening Test Regulations, 2002” or “Foreign Medical Graduate Licentiate Regulations, 2021. There are no such provisions in Indian Medical Council Act 1956 & National Medical Commission Act, 2019 as well as the Regulations to accommodate or transfer medical students from any foreign medical institutes to Indian medical colleges. No permission has been given by NMC to transfer or accommodate any foreign medical students in any Indian medical institute/university.”
“NMC, for the betterment of Indian student pursuing medical studies abroad, vide circular dated 04.03.2022 has allowed foreign medical graduates with incomplete internship due to such compelling situation which is beyond their control such as war, Covid 19, etc., to complete their remaining part of their internship in India subject to the condition that such candidates must have cleared FMGE (Screening Test), which is mandatory for Indian students with foreign medical qualification to practice medicine in India,” added the Union minister.
Through a circular issued in March, the NMC had allowed returning foreign medical to complete the remaining part of their internship in India subject to the condition that they must have cleared FMGE (Screening Test), which is mandatory for Indian students with foreign medical qualifications to practice medicine in India. However, this relief was for students who could not complete their internships due to situations such as war, covid-19 etc.
Therefore, it is yet unclear, but the latest information from the government indicates that the Ukraine-returned students will receive no special treatment, as expected earlier, and will have to qualify for exams in order to join local medical colleges.
Surprisingly, neighbouring countries, including Russia, are absorbing students who returned from Ukraine without making them lose in their previous academic years.
“The options that are around are Poland, Georgia, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania and these are considerably more expensive. The reason so many of us go to Ukraine is that it’s more affordable,” said Shubham Majumdar (25) from Gurgaon, a student of Kharkiv National Medical University.
Fearing the loss of academic years, students from across the country are protesting and organising hunger strikes in Delhi, in order to raise pressure among the concerned authorities to accommodate students in Indian universities. On Saturday, a group of students launched a five-day hunger strike in Delhi, requesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to let them continue their courses, in their equivalent years, in Indian universities as a one-time measure.