Thousands of Indian medical students have returned home from conflict-hit Ukraine


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting exemption for Ukraine-returned medical students from NEET-UG for admission to colleges.

In the letter, Ms Banerjee acknowledged that the regulator National Medical Commission, or NMC, has allowed foreign medical graduates with unfinished internships due to compelling situations that are beyond their control, like COVID-19 and the Ukraine war, to finish it in India after clearing a screening test.

The Bengal Chief Minister, however, said many medical students who have returned from Ukraine “do not meet this requirement”, and drew attention to the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Undergraduate), or NEET-UG, which they should clear to get admission in India’s medical colleges. She said 391 students have returned from Ukraine to Bengal and they are “passing though severe stress and anxiety due to uncertain future”.

“It is requested that the relevant guidelines may be relaxed as a very special case to accommodate these students,” Ms Banerjee said in the letter.

“The private medical colleges of the state have agreed to accommodate these students at state quota fees. Government of West Bengal has also decided to extend financial assistance to these students to meet the expenses on their course fees,” Ms Banerjee said. “Sir, this is an unprecedented situation war situation which calls for an extraordinary solution,” she added.

Earlier this month, the Indian Medical Association had written to PM Modi and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya asking the centre to adjust all evacuated Indian medical students in existing medical schools in the country through an appropriate disbursed distribution.

In a circular, the National Medical Commission had said that considering the “agony and stress” faced by students who returned from Ukraine, their applications may be processed by state medical councils provided the candidates have cleared the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination before applying for completion of internship in India.