#WhatTheFAQ: Two years of additional internship for FMGs? All about NMC's new regulations and why students are against it

FMGs launched a protest in front of the NMC headquarters on Monday, November 28, against the new regulations mentioned in the July 29 notice
Pic: EdexLive
Pic: EdexLive

More than 300 Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) launched a full-blown protest in front of the National Medical Council (NMC) headquarters in Delhi against the new regulation that demanded them to undergo two years of internship instead of one. Students are demanding immediate roll-back of the new rule, which they call unethical and discriminatory. 

Let's find out why students are against the new regulations in today's edition of #WhatTheFAQ.

What happened?
FMGs have been protesting against the NMC's notification from July 29, 2022, which mandates the Compulsory Rotatory Medical Internship (CRMI) for two years instead of one for FMGs who completed their undergraduate degrees and passed their Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) on or before June 30, 2022. 

What is CMRI?
The Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship (CRMI) is a year-long internship that is mandatory for doctors to become eligible to practice independently. The CRMI is mandated by the NMC in order to award the MBBS degree and receive NMC registration. Indian students who complete their medical degrees abroad are required to qualify for their FMGE before they can apply for CMRI. 

Why the extension of the internship?
According to NMC, FMGs who were awarded their degree after an online course do not have enough clinical practice and would have to undergo two years of CMRI training to make up for their loss. According to NMC, this new rule is to familiarise them with the approach of medicine in Indian settings. 

Due to various factors like the pandemic and war, NMC had granted FMGs permission to appear for their FMGE without clinical training. The relaxation came as a one-time measure owing to the extreme situations. However, the relaxation was awarded along with the additional clause of an extension in the internship period as compulsory for them to be able to become eligible to apply for a license to practice medicine in India. 

What are the issues with the new regulations?
FMGs who have completed their internships already and received their license would have their license revoked. Those who started working as permanent residents also risk losing their jobs. These doctors will now have to undergo two additional years of internships along with the one-year internship they have already completed. Additionally, NMC mandates that students must complete their internships at private institutions recognised by the regulating body. This would require a lot of students to start their internships afresh. 

Further, the new policy extended the period, after which, the students would be able to explore the job market. Foreign medical degrees take five to six years and at least another year to complete their FMGE. Along with that, two years of internship would take the students about 10 years to step into the job market. These students also have a burden of student loans owing to their expenses abroad. These internships that barely remunerate the doctors also require them to pay a fee of about Rs 3 lakh. 

Why does the new rule apply only to FMGs?
The new regulation does not apply to Indian Medical students who also had a part of their degree course online due to the pandemic and lockdown. The discrimination has further triggered the students. 

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