In the post-pandemic world ‘Crisis’ is the new normal, be it Yemen, Syria, Sri Lanka, or the most prominent one, the ongoing Ukraine-Russia fiasco. These all are conflict-ridden zones. And, what do these conflicts create? They give birth to social, political and economic consequences that can last for decades. These conflicts create hundreds and thousands of refugees, who seek asylum in other territories. Well, it sounds humanitarian to take in the population hit by conflict and provide for them. But, there is another side to it too.
How Russia-Ukraine conflict left India in a Dilemma
As soon as Russia initiated its ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, thousands of Indian students studying in different medical colleges in Ukraine were forced to flee. India, carrying forward the legacy of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, launched Operation Ganga and brought back approximately 18,000 Indians stranded in the conflict zone.
Now, India had saved its citizens from the conflict zone, but the next question was, what would these rescued students do regarding their studies, as approximately all of them were studying medicine in Ukrainian colleges. As soon as they were brought back, the demand to absorb these students into Indian universities grew. Now, the NMC (National Medical Association) has finally cleared the fog around the issue.
NMC’s bold decision
The National Medical Association, on Tuesday, issued a notice stating that it has approved the academic mobility programme offered by war-torn Ukraine. Under this programme, the Ukraine returnees can complete their education in other countries and the degree will be issued by the parent Ukrainian university. As per the NMC notice, it has “no-objection” regarding temporary relocation of Indian medical students in different countries as far as “other criteria of Screening Test Regulations 2002 are fulfilled.”
Now, why was the no-objection awaited? It’s because as per the 2021 regulations, the entire course, training and internship need to be done in the same university outside India. This was the reason why Ukraine returnees were not able to go to other countries as that would have disqualified them from giving the Screening Test which is now called “Foreign Medical Graduate Examination”.
The other side
Not absorbing Ukraine returnees has been a highly debated issue in recent times. Well, NMC with this no-objection has made it clear that Indian medical universities won’t be burdened with Ukraine returnees. Well, no matter how rude we sound, this decision must be welcomed and the reasons are as follows.
The number of students who returned from Ukraine was more than 18,000, and no medical infrastructure anywhere in the world can absorb a huge number like 18,000 students at the same time. Not to mention, as soon as the medical students landed in India, they filed a PIL demanding the current administration to absorb them into medical colleges in India. Now, this decision makes a way to quash this petition as well.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam can backfire as well
India did not admit Ukraine-return medical students, and it will not. This is quite clear with the recent decision of the National Medical Council. However, this is sure to meet a lot of backlash. So, let me tell you, why the idea of always being the good one can backfire as well. No matter how much we have romanticised the phrase ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, there is a reason why countries are clearly demarcated by fixed lines called ‘borders’. That’s because it does not makes sense to welcome everyone as Kutumb inside the nation.
Same is the case with Ukraine-return medical students. Also, once these students are absorbed in the Indian institutions, tomorrow any student can come after studying in any part of the world claiming to complete his/her studies in India.
To add on, majority of these students could not compete in the NEET examination, and absorbing such students in the medical colleges who could not qualify the entrance exam can be demotivating for other students who qualified it.
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