Discussions are underway at the Union health ministry over possible framing of a policy or a scheme to enable Indian medical students affected by the Ukraine crisis and the pandemic complete their education in colleges in the country.
Deliberations have begun after the National Medical Commission (NMC) sought the health ministry’s view in light of the Supreme Court’s direction to the regulatory body to frame a scheme in two months allowing such MBBS students complete clinical training in medical colleges here, sources said.
The external affairs ministry had also written to the health ministry to consider allowing Indian private medical institutions to enroll students, facing such compelling circumstances beyond their control, to continue their medical degree programmes from Indian private medical institutions on a one-time exception basis.
At present, there are no norms under the National Medical Commission (NMC) regulations to accommodate Indian students pursuing medical courses abroad who had to return home midway, in medical colleges here between an academic session.
“Preliminary discussions have been held over a possible framing of a policy or a scheme to enable Indian medical students affected by the Ukraine crisis and the pandemic complete their education in colleges in the country but nothing concrete has been decided.
“Though the exact number of such students is not clear but estimates suggest they could be over 20,000 and accommodating such a huge number of students in between ongoing academic sessions in colleges in India is a difficult task. Deliberations are on to find a way out,” a source told PTI.
The apex court had on April 29 directed the NMC to frame the scheme in two months.
In March, the regulatory body said foreign medical graduates with incomplete internships due to situations beyond their control like COVID-19 or war can finish the same in India.
In a circular, the NMC said the same may be processed by the state medical councils, provided the candidates have cleared the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination before applying for completion of internship in India.
In May 6, the NMC wrote to the health ministry saying the apex court has directed the regulatory body to frame a scheme within two months to allow respondents and similarly situated students to complete clinical training in Indian medical colleges on such charges which NMC may determine.
It also directed the commission to further analyse or test the candidate in such a scheme to satisfy that such a candidate is sufficiently trained to obtain provisional registration to complete an internship of 12 months.
The NMC’s letter mentioned that it was pointed out to the apex court that many of the medical students who have returned from Ukraine would be in different semesters. But the court was of the view that the scheme should incorporate necessary provisions for students who have returned from Ukraine, it stated.
“It is made clear that the National Medical Commission after the implementation of the NEET, does not maintain the list/data pertaining to Indian citizens seeking/pursuing the medical qualification(s) in any foreign medical institutes.
“Taking into consideration the order dated April 29 passed by the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Health is requested to kindly offer its views/comments on the issue of providing clinical training to foreign medical graduates in India,” the NMC secretary had said in the letter.