The Indian Medical Association and Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo on Friday separately urged the Centre to enrol Indian medical students returning from Ukraine into medical colleges in the country, reported PTI.

Thousands of Indian students go to Ukraine to pursue medical courses. Due to the Russian invasion of the former Soviet member country that began on February 24, many Indian students studying there have been stranded, although a majority have been evacuated.

A large number of students go to Ukraine from India to study because it is cheaper to pursue medical education there. Besides, the number of seats for medical courses is also higher in Ukraine than in India. The returning students need to clear the qualifiers, which is also known as Foreign Medical Graduates Examination or the Medical Council of India Screening Test, to practise as doctors in India.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, the Indian Medical Association said that these returning students should be allowed to enrol in medical colleges for the remainder of their Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, or MBBS, course through an “appropriate disbursed distribution”.

The doctors’ body said that admissions should not be seen as an increase in the annual intake capacity of students in medical institutions and be considered a “one time exception”, reported Mint.

The association said that the students should be absorbed by following the method prescribed for distributing the students of an educational institution that has been closed to other medical colleges.

For this, the association said, the students will need to produce a validation certificate made by authorities of the medical schools where they were originally admitted in Ukraine.

“Resultantly, on passing out they will be as good as Indian medical graduates and not foreign medical graduates,” the letter said.

General secretary of the doctors’ body Dr Jayesh Lele told Mint these were “unprecedented times”. He said that there are around 500 medical colleges in India and 70,000 to 80,000 students get admitted every year.

“This is in hands of the government and National Medical Commission to amend and increase in the seats on temporary basis so that students’ career do not get spoiled,” Lele said.

Deo, in his letter to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, said that if these returning students are absorbed into Indian colleges, they would happily accept it.

“In view of the current situation, it is uncertain when normalcy will return to Ukraine,” the letter said. “A large number of students from Chhattisgarh and other states who are pursuing medical courses there have been returning home and are worried over their further studies. Even their parents who have spent hard-earned money on their education are concerned.”

The minister said that the students can take the qualifiers to complete their medical education.

He added that additional seats can be created in medical colleges to absorb these students.

Meanwhile, the National Medical Commission has allowed foreign students with incomplete internships to finish them in India if they cleared the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination, reported ANI.

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