The number of students taking the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) has increased three-fold in the last 5 years, according to records released by theNational Board of Examination (NBE).
FMGE is the examination that foreign MBBS graduates have to take in order to gain a license to practice medicine in India. The exam is conducted twice a year and three attempts are available to clear it.
National Board of Examination (NBE), theconducting body of FMGE, has revealedthat 35,774 students took the exam in 2020 compared to 12,116 in 2015 showing a threefoldincreasein the last 5 years. The majority of students who appeared for FMGE hadstudied MBBS from countries like China (12,680), Russia (4,313), Ukraine (4,258), Kyrgyzstan (4,156), thePhilippines (3,142) and Kazakhstan (2,311)in 2020.
Sujatha Rao, Former Health Secretary, stated that this is due to the market forces set in motion and theincreasing demand for medical care amid the burden of bothcommunicable and non-communicable diseases. Additionally, given that India did not react instantly to this, the rise in FMGE candidates can be attributed to this.
In 2021 NEET-UG, over 16 lakh students appeared for just over 83,000 seats. Out of these, governmentcolleges in Indiahad only half the number of seats. In addition, within these five years, 30,000 new seats were added to Indianmedical schools,according to NBE.
MBBS degrees from Indian government colleges can cost between a fewthousand to a couple of lakhs for the entire MBBS program. Students unable to get selected in government colleges in India opt to study in Asian and East European countries due to the comparatively lower cost of MBBS education.
Currently, Ukrainian universities offertheir5 to 6-year MBBS degree at INR 15-20 lakhs, while the same course of 4.5 years costs INR 0.5 to INR 1.5 crore in India.
Only 1.2 million medical practitioners are registered in India against the requirement of 1.38 million, on the basis of the suggested 1:1000 doctor-patient ratio by the World Health Organisation, according to National Health Profile 2021.
Aruna Vanikar, president of the undergraduate medical education board, NMC, stated that Central and State governments, Institutions, Philanthropists and Stakeholders need to come together to regularise and cap the fees structure of MBBS in India. It is important that medical education is made more humane and pursuable in India.
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