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Russia-Ukraine crisis: Foreign medical graduates can complete internship in India, says NMC

The circular also informed that no fees can be charged by the colleges for giving the students an internship. Also, they should be given the stipends and facilities equivalent to their Indian counterparts.

Written by Anonna Dutt | New Delhi |
Updated: March 6, 2022 7:44:41 am
Indian students who were evacuated from Ukraine wait at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Medical students from war-torn Ukraine who completed their graduation but were unable to finish their mandatory 12-month internship will now be able to complete it in Indian medical college hospitals. The National Medical Commission (NMC) on Friday relaxed regulations that govern graduation at foreign medical institutions for “compelling” situations, such as the pandemic or war.

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Students who were not able to complete their graduation when the war broke out, however, continue to remain in the lurch.

The circular issued on March 4 states, “There are some foreign medical graduates with incomplete internship due to such compelling situations beyond their control, such as the pandemic Covid-19 and war etc. Considering the agony and stress faced by these foreign medical graduates, their application to complete the remaining part of their internship in India is considered eligible. Accordingly, the same may be processed by state medical councils.”

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All medical graduates from abroad are required to intern for 12 months in the institute where they studied before applying for Foreign Medical Graduates Examination to work in India to get a provisional registration with state medical councils. They need to intern for another 12 months in India before they can get a permanent registration.

As per rules, no one can practise medicine here without registering with a medical council.

Although NMC has granted relaxation for internships, several officials from the Commission, which governs medical education in the country since the Medical Council of India was disbanded in 2020, said no student is likely to be accommodated in medical colleges here or allowed to transfer to colleges elsewhere.

An official from NMC said, “Around 18,000 students have returned from Ukraine (so far). There are around 85,000 MBBS seats in India. How can we accommodate nearly one-fourth that number of additional students? Our medical institutes and teachers are already overburdened. It is not practical.”

A second official said, “How long is the war going to last? The students will return to their institutes (in Ukraine) to complete their education.”

On Friday’s notification, a third official said, “This is an old decision; it just happens to line up with the current war.”

Officials explained that the guidelines of 2002 had a provision for transfer in situations such as civil unrest or wars, which the new guidelines that came to force last November did not have. The new guidelines state, “The entire course, training and internship or clerkship shall be done outside India in the same foreign medical institution throughout the course of study.”

The second official from NMC said, “This is a mere clarification on the new guidelines. We have received appeals from several medical graduates, not just from Ukraine but from countries such as the Philippines, where they were unable to complete the internship due to the pandemic. The current notification clearly lays down what the state councils need to check for before granting a provisional registration for these graduates.”

An NMC official said, “This is a mere clarification on the new guidelines. We have received appeals from several medical graduates, not just from Ukraine but from countries such as the Philippines, where they were unable to complete the internship due to the pandemic…”

The circular issued on Friday says any foreign medical graduate who has completed her/his degree “physically”, can be granted provisional registration by state medical councils for a period of 12 months, or the duration remaining in their internship. “The maximum quota for allocation of internship to FMGs (Foreign Medical Graduates) must be restricted to additional 7.5% of total permitted seats in a medical college,” it states.

The circular states no fees can be charged by colleges for giving FMGs an internship, and they should be given stipends and facilities equivalent to their Indian counterparts.

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