Published: 08th September 2022
Timeline: Plight of Ukraine-returned medical students, from Operation Ganga to petitions in Supreme Court
Even after months of mulling over options, the NMC has not been successful in satisfying the foreign returnees with helpful measures. EdexLive traces the situation
From being stranded in a war-torn country to being stranded in India without being able to complete their medical education and training, there seems to be no end to the hardships of Indian students who returned from Ukraine. Even after months of mulling over options, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has not been successful in satisfying the students with helpful measures.
Let's take a look at how the precarious situation unfolded by moving down the timeline...
February 10: Tensions between Russia and Ukraine begin to brew.
February 24: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to launch a "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine.
The country is invaded and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy enacts martial law.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issues advisory to the students and Indian Nationals to not panic and stay where they are.
In subsequent advisories, the Ministry stated that it would try to evacuate them and was working towards accommodating those who were stranded in Kyiv without a safe place.
The Ministry sets up a control room with 24/7 functioning helpline numbers.
February 26: MEA states, “All Indian Citizens in Ukraine are advised to not move to any of the border posts without prior coordination with Government of India officials at the border posts.”
Operation Ganga begins.
March 10: The last stranded Indian Nationals were evacuated.
TDP (Telugu Desam Party) Chief N Chandrababu Naidu interacts with Telugu Ukraine returnees and states that he would request the Centre to arrange for their admission.
March 14: “We will look into measures regarding the education of students returning from Ukraine,” Education Minister Pradhan assures Lok Sabha.
April 7: India is in talks with Ukraine's neighbours for the continuation of medical studies of evacuated Indian students.
April 29: Supreme Court asks NMC (National Medical Commission) to come up with a one-time scheme to allow all those students who couldn't continue their clinical training abroad to do so in medical colleges in India.
May 12: NMC seeks views of the Health Ministry to help Ukraine-returned medicos complete their training in India.
June 25: Indian medical students back from Ukraine protest and demand admission to Indian medical colleges.
June 29: Deadline given by Supreme Court to NMC for framing guidelines to aid the foreign medical students. NMC comes up with no updates.
July 4: Ukraine-returned students plan a series of protests to demand accommodation in Indian colleges.
July 18: NMC allows foreign returnees who have completed their medical education to appear for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE).
July 23: Parents' Association of Ukraine MBBS Students (PAUMS) starts a five-day 'Peaceful Hunger Strike' at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, demanding accommodation for students who are yet to complete their education.
August 3: Committee on External Affairs (2021-2022), in its fifteenth report to the Lok Sabha, recommends that the students should be accommodated in the Indian medical colleges.
August 5: “Ukraine-returned medical students cannot be sent back now,” Centre states in Rajya Sabha, citing safety issues.
August 22: Ukraine-returned medical students file a writ petition in Supreme Court, asking for accommodation.
August 26: The petitions of the students were heard by the apex court. Justice Hemant Gupta issued notices to the concerned government authorities based on the Lok Sabha Committee recommendation. The hearing is adjourned to September 5.
August 27: A few students take the risk of going back to Ukraine to resume their classes.
September 1: Offline classes resume for Ukrainian medical universities.
September 5: On the day of the hearing, the concerned authorities state that they needed more time to come up with suitable measures for the Ukraine-returned students. The hearing is adjourned once more to September 15.
September 6: NMC allows Ukraine-return students to move to other universities globally, but students are not satisfied and continue to demand accommodation in India.