With the NEET PG 2021 exams scheduled for 18 April this year, there is a demand for including Indian students who complete medical bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery (MBBS) courses abroad to be made eligible for the state quotas during PG admissions. In the absence of state quotas, at least 25,000 Indian students are at a disadvantage each year and are unable to get the subject of their choice say career experts.
Indian students who opt for undergraduate MBBS courses in countries outside India are categorised as foreign medical graduates (FMGs) and can apply for post-graduate degree seats in government-run colleges only under the ‘All India Quota’. However, considering the huge number of applicants at the all India level – an average of 80,000, as compared to that at the state level-average of 8000 per year, foreign medical graduates’ have fewer chances of getting subjects of their choices despite applying to colleges within their state of domicile.
Each year as many as 25,000 students earn their MBBS degrees from medical schools abroad since the number of applicants to admissions to government medical schools far exceed the number of seats. On their return, students who complete their MBBS in countries like Russia, China, Philippines, Georgia, Kirgizstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Mauritius, Bangladesh etc. are expected to write a screening exam conducted by the National Medical Commission’s (NMC) formerly known as the Medical Council of India. Qualifying the foreign medical graduates’ examination (FMGE) exams conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE) is a prerequisite to apply for PG courses within the country as also to get licenses to practice as MBBS in India.
“Whether it is to go on and do post graduate in medicine or practice as MBBS within the country, foreign medical graduates need to clear the FMGE conducted twice a year and while there are no limits to the number of attempts a candidate can appear for, just 10 percent of aspirants actually clear the exams. In such a scenario, the norms regarding state quotas that deny students post graduate medical counselling for MS/MD courses in the government colleges are an added burden on the students. The National Medical Commission needs to address the problem immediately to ensure all aspirants a fair chance,” says Gaurav Tyagi, founder of Career Xpert, a career counselling firm (estb. 2015) that provides counselling to students studying for UG, PG and super-speciality in medicine.
PG courses at government medical colleges are in demand because of their lower tuition costs – average Rs 2 lakhs for three-year course as versus the average Rs 75 lakhs tuition fees at private medical colleges for the same course. Ironically, while it feels like the system is penalising foreign graduate students, the foreign medical schools that attract Indian students have actually been approved by the NMC itself say medical counsellors.
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