By Payal Banerjee
The National Medical Commission has told the Supreme Court that final year medical students who returned to India due to Covid and Russia-Ukraine war and got degrees on a date to be notified will be permitted for the FMG exam.
In an affidavit on June 23, the National Medical Commission (NMC) said upon qualifying the Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) exam, such foreign medical graduates will be required to undergo a Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship (CRMI) for two years instead of the existing one year norm.
The foreign medical graduates will be eligible to get registration only after completing the CRMI for two years.
The internship period has been doubled to make up for the clinical training which could not be physically attended by the foreign medical graduates during their course in the institutes abroad and to familiarise them with the practice of medicine under Indian conditions, the NMC affidavit said.
Taking note of the NMC’s stand, the apex court, in a July 25 order, said, “Compliance report filed along with affidavit dated July 23 is taken on record. No further orders are called for in the present miscellaneous applications. The miscellaneous applications are accordingly disposed of. Pending application (s) if any, also stand disposed of.” The Supreme Court on April 29 directed the regulatory body to frame a scheme in two months to enable MBBS students affected by the Russia-Ukraine war and the pandemic to complete their clinical training in medical colleges here as a one-time measure.
In the affidavit, the NMC said after the April 29 judgement, its Undergraduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) discussed and deliberated upon the matter pertaining to foreign medical graduates in its various meetings.
The matter was also considered by the Union Health Ministry along with the inputs from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) which was forwarded by the consulates of India from Ukraine, China, and Russia, among others.
During the deliberations between the members of UGMEB and officials of the health ministry and MEA, it was pointed out that 20,672 Indian students are enrolled in different medical colleges and universities in Ukraine, all of which are providing online classes to them.
The NMC, in its affidavit, said the Ministry of Education and Science, Ukraine, has directed the heads of educational institutions to resume the educational process while ensuring the most favourable learning conditions, taking into account the location of staff and students.
Students are free to choose for themselves clinical bases for obtaining practical skills. Also, they were given temporary academic mobility to pursue their education, while they continue to be enrolled as a student of the university, it stated.
Ukraine has ordered the KROK Centre to reschedule the first stage of the qualifying examination for foreigners to be held offline in October.
The second stage of the unified state qualifying examination will not be held for students graduating in 2022, but they should pass the online state practical examination, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has decided.
If the university is located in the war zone or occupied zone, final marks will be assigned based on previous academic scores. After the practical examination, the Academic Board of University shall award degrees to students.
However, before receiving the degree, students should obtain a no-objection certificate from the university. They may arrange to receive their degrees themselves or through a power of attorney. After receiving the degree, the students are required to do an internship before they can begin practising as a doctor.
The NMC affidavit mentioned that China has begun the process to facilitate the return of students. Russia has told MEA that its Ministry of Science and Higher Education is allowing Indian students evacuated from Ukraine to continue their studies in the Russian Federation.
The Kazakhstan embassy has told the MEA that it was open to allowing the students evacuated from Ukraine to continue their studies in their country.
The Kyrgyz National University has also communicated to MEA that they are willing to offer help to Indian students evacuated from Ukraine and also offered to waive the tuition fee of around 100 students enrolled in the September 2021 batch who have paid fees in Ukraine, the NMC said.
The NMC told the Supreme Court that Indian students now have several options available to them to complete their studies.
Considering these facts, the Supreme Court’s observations and after consultations with the health ministry and MEA, the UGMEB of NMC has “as a one-time measure, decided to frame a scheme and grant relax ation to foreign medical graduates who completed their medicine course from a foreign medical institute without undergoing physical clinical training due to extraordinary situation brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war etc”, it said in the affidavit.
Under the scheme, Indian students in the last year of their undergraduate medicine course who left their institute abroad due to Covid or the Russia-Ukraine war and completed their studies and also got a certificate of completion of the course on a date to be notified by NMC will be permitted to appear in FMGE, the affidavit said.
Upon qualifying the FMG exam, such foreign medical graduates are required to undergo CRMI for two years, the NMC’s affidavit added.