Published: 07th March 2023
FMGE 2023: RTI reply reveals exam fund amount, but students get no refunds
According to the document, 33,001 students registered for the exam, out of which 1,058 had their applications rejected
Despite the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE) being the most expensive medical exam, with an application fee of Rs 7,080, the National Board of Examinations (NBE) which conducts it, does not maintain the data on the exam expenditure. Dr Vivek Pandey, an RTI activist, brings out this information through his RTI queries.
To a query filed on October 11, 2020, on the expenses incurred for the conduction of FMGE that year, the RTI reply from the body stated, "NBE does not maintain exam-wise expenditure." Only such information can be supplied under the (RTI) Act which already exists and is held by the public authority or in control of the public authority," it adds.
Dr Pandey questions NBE's action. He says, "If the application fee is so high, the expenses need to be tabled. We need to know why it is so much." He further points out that the application fee for NEET PG 2023 for the General and OBC categories is Rs 4,250, and for the SC/ST and PWD categories is Rs 3,250. Meanwhile, the application fee for NEET SS is Rs 4,425 across categories.
Taking to Twitter, Dr Pandey writes that an RTI query filed on January 30, 2023, has revealed that NBE collected Rs 23,36,75,400 as application fees from Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) this year. He had asked for information on the number of applicants for the FMGE 2023 January session and wanted to know how many applications were rejected besides the money collected. the RTI reply was received on February 26.
According to the document, 33,001 students registered for the exam, out of which 1,058 had their applications rejected. NBE stated that the forms were rejected for failing to fulfill the eligibility criteria. "Some students had not received translated certificates from their respective foreign universities, while some did not get the pre-requisite eligibility certificates from the National Medical Commission (NMC)," Dr Pandey explains.
In January, there were several media reports on how about 10,000 FMGs were not allowed to appear for FMGE 2023 and had their applications rejected. Dr Pandey mentions that this was the reason behind his RTI. "I wanted to know why nothing was done if so many students' careers were at stake and what happened to the money collected," he tells.
In its reply, the NBE also stated that the fee paid by students whose applications were rejected was forfeited. However, the students are frustrated over the situation. They mention that despite repeated requests and representations, NBE refused to refund their money.
For the June 2023 session too, many students are facing difficulty as they are yet to receive an eligibility certificate from the NMC. They have already submitted clarification letters and have contacted the officials of the board.
Dr M Teja Kumar, an aspirant from Andhra Pradesh, filed a case in the Delhi High Court on 16 December 2022 for not being issued an eligibility certificate for the exam. Though his case was dismissed on December 21, with the court ordering NBE to resolve the matter. "But the matter still stands unresolved," Dr Teja says.
In January this year, he wanted to file another writ petition collectively with the newly affected students. "Everyone was scared and nobody came forward for the petition. So I filed it alone, and expect a verdict soon," Dr Teja says, adding that his state is ready to issue his eligibility certificate, but not NMC."
(Earlier, the copy had erroneously indicated the FMGE registration date. The changes have now been made)