FMGs: Insufficient internship seats compel students in Rajasthan, J&K to raise concerns

In Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and several other states, thousands of qualified graduates are yet to get a seat for the compulsory medical internship. Students demand more seats be allocated.
FMGs protest in J&K | Credit: Edex Live
FMGs protest in J&K | Credit: Edex Live

Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) from various states in India are eagerly anticipating securing a place in Indian medical colleges for their Compulsory Rotating Medical Internship (CRMI). Regrettably, almost 2,000 of these graduates are unable to secure admission to Indian colleges due to a restricted number of counselling seats allocated for FMGs in India.

What is happening?

Since last week, FMGs in Rajasthan have been demonstrating against the matter. Out of the 1,365 students who cleared the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE), 966 were unable to secure admission through counselling in Rajasthan. The students explained that they do not have any other options as other states do not allow non-domicile students.

“The NMC issued guidelines saying that foreign medical graduates who have finished their degrees online will be required to undergo 2 years of mandatory medical internship instead of one. However, the decision was unplanned… they did not even think if there are enough seats available or if the students will even get internships,” said Shahroz Khan, who graduated from Nantong Medical University, China.

The students from Jammu and Kashmir have also complained about the same issue.

“This time almost 400 students qualified for the FMGE but only 140 among them are being accommodated for internships. The rest are left without any answers or options even after they have proved their worth and mettle by qualifying for the exam. We are requesting NMC to clarify the seat allotment for J&K and increase the number of seats allocated for FMGs if required,” said Dr Imtiyaz Wani from Jammu & Kashmir Medical Student's Association.

Across the country, students are facing uncertainties due to the limited number of seats.

As per recent guidelines by the NMC, the maximum quota for allocation of internships to FMGs must be restricted to an additional 7.5% of the total permitted seats in a medical college. However, the implementation of these guidelines is at the discretion of the respective state government.

“This time the FMGE result was better than other years and around 3,120 students qualified for the FMGE exam. Out of these, 399 have got seats in Rajasthan, around 200 in Haryana, some 60-70 students got seats in Punjab, and some of the students got in Karnataka, Gujarat and a few other states. Maharashtra is yet to release the merit list, and in Jammu and Kashmir also, there is a difference in numbers,” explained Dr Jaswant Singh, founder of DPGI, a coaching institute for FMGE.

What is the reason?

The graduates are now demanding that the 7.5% criteria by NMCs should be scrapped completely and that more seats should be allocated to accommodate the qualified students. However, experts say that there are other reasons behind the lack of sufficient seats.

Dr Ashwini Dalmiya, Executive Member, Delhi Medical Council (DMC) and president, Delhi Medical Association, explained, “One of the reasons is that the course of the internship is two years while the FMGE examination is being conducted twice a year resulting in a smaller number of vacant seats. Because of this, the colleges are also not sending information about of seats available to DMC who is in charge of creating a merit list for the FMGs.”

Dr Dalmiya also added that since the NMC made it compulsory last year to pay a monthly stipend to the FMGs during their mandatory internship, many private institutions and hospitals have pulled out their seats for the FMGs.

“Either they do not have the money sanctioned to pay the interns or they do not want to, either way, it is another reason there is an insufficient number of seats available… Most FMGs are only demanding for them to be accommodated in Indian colleges for internships and not a stipend. If they do, then it is their right to get paid but their primary concern is to get a seat right now,” explained Dr Dalmiya.

Some FMGs also demanded that the NMC makes it valid to complete their internships from foreign countries like China, etc as an alternative. However, there is no clarity on that so far.

In support of the students, Dr Rohan Krishnan, Chairman of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) added that the NMC and Ministry of Health and Welfare should take responsibility to ensure that all the qualified students are getting seats in Indian colleges.

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