Tamil Nadu Foreign Medical Graduates Await Internship Fees Waiver for 3 Months
Foreign medical graduates demand the fulfilment of the state government’s promise of internship fees waiver in Chennai on November 4.
Tamil Nadu students who graduated from foreign medical institutes are still awaiting the state government’s promise of waiving their internship fees. The state government had announced the waiver on July 29 following the May 26 order of the National Medical Commission (NMC).
The Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association (TNMSA) claimed that most states have waived the fees, enabling thousands of foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to pursue internships.
The TNMSA and Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE) protested in Chennai demanding the fee waiver and simplification of the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FGME) and the verification process.
FULFIL FEE WAIVER PROMISE
FMGs have been demanding waiving of the fees for internships at state hospitals for the past several years. They have to pay Rs 5.45 lakh for obtaining a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the medical university and pursuing the Compulsory Rotatory Residential Internship (CRRI) at any of the enlisted medical colleges.
Around 750 FMGs are awaiting the order to pursue the CRRI after clearing the FMGE.
“The government has not issued the order. We have been waiting for more than three months,” Senthil Kumar, secretary of the TNMSA’s FMG unit, told Newsclick.
The government has also reduced the fees for obtaining the NOC from the medical university to Rs 29,000 from around Rs 3 lakhs.
“The demand for scrapping the fees for internship gathered momentum in Tamil Nadu. FMGs in most other states have benefited from the waiver but students from the state are still waiting,” Kumar added.
GR Ravindranth, general secretary, DASE told Newsclick that the demands of FMGs have been “pending for a long time. The government should not further delay the order”.
The TNMSA claimed that administrative hurdles, particularly from the finance department, are delaying the order despite assurance from the health minister.
‘ENSURE STIPEND TO ALL’
For the past two decades, FMGs have been paying around Rs 5 lakh for internships but without being paid a stipend. According to NMC guidelines, state medical councils should pay stipends to students doing CRRI.
“The government should ensure that FMGs too are paid stipends. There is a general perception that all those studying medicine abroad are rich and do not require financial aid; it’s not true,” Kumar said.
“A good number of students studying abroad belong to middle-class families while a large percentage are first-generation doctors. So, the stipend is absolutely essential and we request the government to ensure it,” Kumar added.
‘SIMPLIFY THE EXAM PROCESS’
FMGs have to clear the FMGE twice every year to begin practice in the country. But the delay in processing results and issuing permanent registration numbers remains a hurdle.
“Though the exams are held in June and December every year, there is a delay in announcing results. After studying for six years abroad, we have to clear the exam and then do the internship for one year. Altogether, we spend eight to nine years before we start practising. We demand that the government simplify the process,” Kumar said.
The FMGE pass percentage is relatively less but students from Tamil Nadu are doing better, the TNMSA claimed. Based on their higher scores, the association has demanded that the Centre increase the allotment of internships for FMGs to 20%.
“The present allocation is only 7.5%, which is very less compared to the pass percentage. A higher allocation will reduce our waiting period,” Kumar argued.
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