New Delhi, Jul 17 (PTI) The National Medical Commission (NMC) has constituted an expert group to prepare guidelines for the proposed examination for those who migrated from Pakistan to India and acquired citizenship from its neighbors. Will allow medical graduates from oppressed minority communities of the country to get permanent registration to ‘practice’ in the country.
The move brings a new ray of hope for medical graduates who are unable to legally serve as doctors in the country after coming to India from Pakistan.
For decades, a large number of Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have been demanding Indian citizenship after migrating to India.
The Union Home Ministry had told during the winter session of Parliament in 2021 that 8,244 applications for Indian citizenship were received from non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, out of which 3,117 have been accepted.
It is worth noting that Parliament had passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019, which provides for Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. However, this law has not been implemented as of now, as the rules and regulations under CAA are yet to be decided.
Dr. LN Jangid (49), who arrived in Jodhpur in Rajasthan in 2004 from Umerkot in Pakistan, is working as a physician’s assistant in a private clinic. He got Indian citizenship in 2019.
Despite having an MBBS degree from Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Dr. Jangid’s work is limited only to recording the medical background of the patients, measuring their blood pressure and explaining the dosage of medicine as prescribed by the doctor.
Dr. Jangid told PTI-Bhasha, “I feel very sad to work as a medical assistant. I remember every moment of the days when I used to work as a doctor in Pakistan, counseling patients and prescribing medicines. I feel that I have failed to realize my dream of serving patients.”
Jangid is not the only doctor with a medical degree who has been forced to work below his qualifications after coming to India from Pakistan.
The notification issued by the NMC on June 20 for the formation of a five-member expert group said, “The Ministry of Health, through its holistic effort, has decided that the proposed link to assess the medical knowledge of the persecuted minorities who migrated from Pakistan to India. Appropriate guidelines/regulations may be framed under the direct supervision of the National Medical Commission for the conduct of the examination.”
The Expert Group is authorized to collect the work experience (if any), demographic and educational information of the applicants to verify the documents received.
The expert group will also decide the methodology and format of the particular examination to be conducted by the NMC.
“Once the guidelines are ready, candidates will be asked to register on a portal to appear for the proposed examination,” an official source said.
Dr. Nakhat Singh Sodha (54), who came to India in 2005 from Sindh, Pakistan, is working as a care supervisor in a private hospital in Jodhpur. He said he would need nine to ten months to prepare for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE).
Dr. Sodha is a medical science graduate from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Karachi.
He said, “I graduated more than two and a half decades ago. I don’t understand how will I be able to take the medical exam again. To crack FMGE, we have to prepare for at least nine to ten months. During preparation we will not be able to do job and who will take care of our house during that period?”
Dr. Sodha said that it would be great if the government brings us the policy of giving permanent registration to work as doctors.
Indians having medical degree from foreign universities can also practice in India only after clearing FMGE. However, master’s degrees from five English-speaking countries – the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – are valid in India and medical degree holders from these countries are not required to appear for the examination.
The NMC had on April 28 issued a notice urging Indian students not to take admission in any medical college or educational institution in Pakistan.
The notice said, “Any Indian citizen residing in India or abroad, who desires to take admission in MBBS/BDS or equivalent medical course in any medical college in Pakistan, shall be required to appear in FMGE or the educational qualification obtained in Pakistan ( in any discipline) shall not be eligible for employment in India.