Nurses at work in a Chennai hospital (representational image) | Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
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New Delhi: Only a fraction of those who go abroad to pursue a medical degree qualify to practice in India, data with the National Board of Examination (NBE) shows.

According to the NBE data, in the past seven academic sessions, an average of only 15 per cent of students have passed the qualifying exam mandated by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

The NBE conducts the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE) for students with MBBS degrees from countries such as Russia, China, Bangladesh, Philippines, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The exam does not apply to MBBS graduates from the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who can practice in India without having to take it.

The data shows that an average of 13,000 students appear for the FMGE annually. The highest pass percentage for the exam was in 2012-13 when 28.29 per cent of those who appeared qualified to become doctors in the country. That figure dipped to 16.65 per cent in 2013-14; 13.09 per cent in 2014-15; 11.32 per cent in 2015-16, and 9.44 per cent in 2016-17.

In 2017-18, it was 11.17 per cent while in 2018-19, 15.10 per cent of those who appeared qualified.

The dismal numbers have prompted the Indian Medical Association to flag the issue of such MBBS graduates practising in India illegally.

Experts say that a large number of those who don’t clear the exam enter parallel professions such as working for a pharmaceutical company or one that manufactures equipment, as consultants to private hospitals or in the health ministry.

Many others continue to appear for the test for up to three years. There is no age or attempt restriction on candidates appearing for the FMGE exam.


Also read: Not enough SCs & STs take up MBBS & dental studies, but exceed their quotas in nursing


Most qualifiers from Bangladesh

The data also shows that while Russia and China have emerged as the hub for those seeking cheap medical degrees abroad, the maximum number of such students who qualify the FMGE are those with an MBBS degree from Bangladesh.

Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, those with MBBS degrees from Bangladesh topped the list of FMGE qualifiers. In 2016-17, students with degrees from Bangladesh were followed by those with an MBBS from the Philippines, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Students with degrees from China and Russia feature at the bottom of the list.

“Bangladesh has the highest pass percentage for FMGE because the curriculum, practices, medical convention and the people are very similar to India and hence students are able to easily adjust to the Indian pattern,” said Mukesh Kumar of the Eklavya Overseas Consultants.

“Students who go Russia and China are usually not able to qualify for the exam. In Russia, for the first three years, the curriculum is taught in English but the fourth year is in Russian. Also, the practices there are different from India,” Kumar added. “It’s a similar case for students going to China, because they study Chinese traditional practices and medicine, which is very different from India.”

‘Illegal doctors a problem’

The IMA has suggested various regulatory mechanisms to the Indian government to clamp down on doctors practising illegally.

“There is a mushrooming of doctors who go abroad to pursue MBBS but are not able to qualify the MCI exam once they are back. Such people are practising as quacks,” said K.K. Aggarwal, a former IMA president.

“Some among them are also choosing to go for alternate professions like health business. We have been telling the government to be more strict with people who are not qualified to practice in India but some still go unnoticed and work as quacks in hospitals in villages where there aren’t any. Some of these people are also employed by hospitals as back-up doctors.”

Dr. R.N. Tandon, honorary secretary general, IMA, agrees that the government should be more stringent to improve the situation.

“We (IMA) had given a number of suggestions to the government in the past, we were fighting against the bridge course and quackery but nothing has been done on our suggestions,” Tandon said. “Ultimately it is the public that suffers when the quality of doctors is not good.”

NEET to make it tougher

With the Modi government having introduced the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) for medical education, it is now going to get tougher to get a medical degree from abroad.

Under the earlier system, anyone with the right amount of money could study medicine abroad. In 2018, however, the Modi government wrote to embassies across the world to make sure that only students with the minimum NEET pass marks of 119 are given admission.

Coaching consultants say that due to the mandatory NEET option, the number of people going abroad will automatically come down.

“Now that the government is making NEET compulsory for studying abroad as well, only those who are actually intelligent and have interest in medicine will be able to go and hence the number of quality doctors that we get back in India will also rise,” said Neeraj Chaurasiya, senior consultant and Director of MCI Gurukul, a Delhi-based coaching centre for FMGE.

“Let’s face it, we need more qualified good doctors in India and studying medicine in India is very difficult. The number of people who appear for NEET every year is more than 10 lakh, and there are only about 30,000 government college seats. The rest are private which are way more expensive. Hence students are left with no option but to go abroad.”

Akash Asmi, who completed his MBBS from Kyrgyzstan in 2018, will give his second attempt to qualify FMGE and says that there are many others struggling for two-three years to qualify the test.

“I wrote the FMGE test last year but could not qualify it. I am writing it again this year and I hope to crack it this time,” Asmi told ThePrint. “However, there are many others with me in the coaching who have been struggling for two-three years to clear the test.”


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28 Comments Share Your Views

28 COMMENTS

  1. Is FMGE Cancelled? No, Mci Screening test is not cancelled for students who study MBBS in abroad. Name of MCI Screening test has been changed to NEXT (NATIONAL EXIT EXAM) and it is compulsory to clear this test for both students who studying Medicine in India and Abroad.Apr 28, 2019
    Govt (MCI) must do this Shouldnot discriminate our own people Truth will come out India or Abroad…?

  2. hi , Frankly speaking , foreign medical graduate are really not a quack . But the examination is conducted in such a manner that it lac in transparency . There is no reference book , question banks are not maintained with students unlike other examination including USMLE (USA) , PLAB (UK) , AMC (Australia ) , MCCQE (Canada) , NZREX ( New Zealand ) and PRES (Ireland) . Blueprint is not maintained . Students are maintained with Non Disclosure agreement ( NDA) – Students appearing this exam doesn’t have a fundamental rights to discuss question paper and answer keys . Results are being declared in 4-5 installment basis . Not declared on the same day . Govt is not taking a single issue supporting foreign medical graduate and discriminating us . Questions are almost pg level ( not mbbs level ) . Without conducting any internship or training program , fmge candidate are writing pg level exam . Whereas the same doesn’t apply with Indian medical graduates . Level of examination doesn’t maintain pre-internship level . Those who complete internship , hold experience and should hold all 22 medical specialty , ( not specialty of 1 subject ) along with experience in all specialty can easily crack this exam .
    so i would like to point out our fmg , with their mistakes point-wise . . 1) they discontinue Russia , Ukraine or whatever country without competing internship program ( indian student hold only completion of mbbs diploma , but don’t hold internship / residency program .+ minimum 2 -3 years of work experience) . Immediately students will secure specialist registration in Russia after successful completion of clinical residency , based on registration , one can get a job on their specialization . based on experiences one can enter Arab countries easily . Further PHD from russia is recognized in Arab and Europe . Please make your education more flexible and find out the direct recognition of your program and their requirements ..Further after you settle abroad , come and give MCI screening test during vacation . Don’t write this exam , by sacrificing your career , since most of them loses the medical field grip . This exam is not the best choice , for one who never hold registration and work experiences abroad .

  3. Know not much but the upper caste people have made it a big issue coz of their own arrogance and criticize others sc st and obc for reservation .but the most important part is that they don’t know what to say for their own short coming ! If they had presence of mind then they should have checked the nta exam cutoff of sc st and obc even they have a very tough competition within themselves and few these people who can afford also go for management seats
    So just want to say that for your own incompetence stop blaming others

  4. Hello excuse me govt of india..i do respect indian govtt for many things but not for this reservation system and this post… Stupid things are writtten here without understanding the situation going on in the country….i am a fmge and i have cleared it in first attempt.. if u want to raise the quality of a doctor dont let reservation system go throuugh..
    People whose merint ranks were way behind me got admissions and i didnt .. thts y we had to go to abroad only bcz of this stupid reservation system.
    And yes i agree there is no stioend for us.. thts so discrimination… Indiangovt. Should also look upon tht issues..

  5. The most funniest part about this article was Modi Government made the NEET mandatory by telling all the universities abroad that the students should be qualified with certain marks in the NEET for admission in the abroad medical universities, hahaha…

  6. Govt not giving seats to all just passed sc/St candidates…among them merit candidates only getting seats… reservation not affecting anything…recent supreme court order also confirms it….so don’t confuse others….study well & clear FMG/other exams

  7. There should be a common exit exam for all the MBBS graduates from Foriegn and India alike. In other countries even in China there is a common exit or licensiate exam for their own people, who will be eligible only after clearing it. Actually in the NMC bill there is a proposal regarding exit exam which is being opposed by a lots of Indian medical graduates. But why?? I think the real medical standards of our local graduates will come out by the exit exam. It’s just the misleading and false prestige created by the local people n MCI on the FMGs. I am an FMG had cleared MCI n doing my masters in Radio diagnosis. Personally I had seen my indian juniors about the quality of work n I had taught the simple foleys and cannula fixation techniques which are the least basic techniques of mbbs grads. Then I thought there should be a common exit exam for all. Pls don’t judge people easily. It’s a five years of struggle to put in a single day exam.

    • There is also a common exit test in Russia before awarding degree and before proceeding with residency program( accredited examination)

  8. I.have done from ukraine ..cleared mci in my first attemp and doing well in my proffession..wat i want to say is at least we have a licence exam which is very important..other wise everyone with money will become doctor even who is not tht capable…but what about those who r doing from private colleges of india..private colleges teach nothing and in my personal experience rhe private college trained students know nothing…amd they dont have even a screening test so there is no point of them not getting licence …we from foreign r filtered n tht nice thing but wat abt those from private colleges of india who have money but dont deserve..getting cheaper degrees but giving a tough mci exam makes sense atleast to show we know..but no exam and just money n ur a doctor..i feel like laughing on our system

  9. Just Hypocrisy at its best…On one side govt does not want to allow ppl with low scores to become a doctor,on the other hand they are pushing undeserving SC/ST candidates with pathetic marks to become docs…obviously when an undeserving guy becomes a doc,he will have no value for it as he dint had to work hard…all he had to do was to take the exam…being a doc myself i have experienced it…u take a seat at 1100 rank while another fellow takes the same seat at 30K…reservation is a form of discrimination in itself…its time govt puts an end to it and pushes merit over caste…

    • Have u actually seen their cut offs and their Mark’s in qualifying examinations. Stop spewing shit. The exams have been tough for all and sc st don’t have the niche, privileged upper class have. Still, they clear their final exams and are qualified doctors. Becoz of you guys only caste system was practiced in India and it’s because of you alone reservation stands today. What was supposed to make people mainstream has been turned into a weapon only to hit at sc st people. How much reservation other castes have? Have u bothered to check? All others castes which were treated better have got reservations thanks to Mandal. Stop targeting sc st ppl without knowing the oppression.
      Everybody knows how sc st doctors, iit – Ian’s, ias officers are treated.
      Just keep your privileged arguments to yourself.
      You reap what you sow. You all totally deserve this and more. You sowed evil of caste, reap now.

      • SC/ST doctors are the worst , I make sure to check the name before going to a clinic . If it is someone from lower caste its a no for me . It’s not because of caste system but reservation . Can’t trust those uneducated fools who are there just because their parents cleaned toilets in the past . Caste system is just a scam . Everyone should boycott theses lower castes so that this stupid reservations go away .

        • Ha ha idiot. What you learned in 10+2 has no bearing in mbbs course. The st/SC students have to get same 50% marks in all final professional examination to get the license to practise and with common exit exam it going to be same for all students irrespective of cast. And if you think that 50% mark is easy to score in govt. colleges, lemme tell you that even the toppers barely score close to low 60%s. so shove your brahmanical nonsense back to your ass and learn to respect people for what they are not for what caste they belong to.

      • Whenever I go to a doctor , I make sure he is not a lower caste . Not because of untouchability but because of reservation . Can’t trust those uneducated fools who are sitting there just because their ancestors cleaned my toilets in the past .

  10. I think it differs from student to student and not due to the fact that you have studied abroad in the countries mentioned that your knowledge is less. I think we all have met doctors who studied in india and still prescribe antibiotics for viral infections…. so its completely wrong to blame just one group of individuals. I dont know if the planned EXIT exam has been implemented yet but if not then whats wrong in meritorius indian students sitting in exit exam…. all developed nations have such an exam US and UK among them….it should be a piece of cake for them…but there has been a strong opposition for this exam…so we all know personally where we all stand… FMGE is important and should not be removed but this blame game needs to stop….

  11. They are still better than those who belong to SC, ST and OBCs and get a medical college at marks below average. I mean nobody asks a doctor’s caste before the treatment. Reservation system in the educational field is of no use and should be removed immediately. It costs the better talent of those general category students and is filling the nation with poorer doctors in spite of those smarter ones who didn’t even got a chance just due to the caste and reservation system and hence are forced to move abroad to pursue their career and fulfil their dream.

  12. Pndt act came into practice because of highly qualified Indian Drs.kidney scam due to highly qualified Indian Drs. Please don’t talk about countries wen talking about Drs. Don’t create fight amongst Drs. It’s a noble profession .No dr wants to kill . THESE ARE the bodies like Ima who have no work so they play this divide n rule policy in this country. THERE r many problems which we learn in India.cut practice in corporate learnt in India. On the name of medical tourism wat Is happening everyone knows. Abortis still happening illegaly but India pass percentage vow. Just leave this profession .I’ma should enter into politics .jaago India jaago

  13. Indian gov say about fmge exam that they want perfect doctor.and they give a chance to sc st and obc on low marks
    From indian MBBS student.is the quality ?

  14. I am an FMG, I passed in my very first attempt, and currently doing my internship but now I feel that even after passing this exam, but I am not getting satisfied because, I don’t get any kind of stipend, and it makes really difficult to survive without money. So the government should look upon this problem also

  15. if only mbbs students from abroad are not qualified why did indian students go on strike against exit exam for everyone. it should even the game against all the malpractices done against the fmg’s

  16. Many toppers are from Russia..Ukraine…doctors from foreign medical gradutes are doing well in the country..if they dont pass the exam doesnt mean they are bad doctors or vise versa..its just a license exam come on atleast not a bridge course…hahahhaah

  17. I think it is true that MCI qualifying percentage is low, but it is going better as time passes.. I don’t understand that the govt is not able to produce the no. Of seat as required for the students who qualifies in neet… Around 7 lakh students will qualify in neet 2019 but our country has only 60,000 seats.. So what others 6,40000 students will do… So it is normally the thing that they will go abroad… So the conclusion is that why our govt. Is not the abroad students to qualify the MCI xam.. Even when they come back to serve their country… Nd we know most of the doctors of AIIMS went to AMERICA mostly.. For money.. For that there is no rule that they can’t live our country or has to give any xam to go AMERICA…

  18. Article is very informative. Before NEET onlg money mattered for MBBS in India too. Anyone one with enough money could join any private medical college in management quota.

  19. I have strong objection in allowing doctors who did their MBBS in UK & USA without qualifying for FMGE
    Since we need qualify for USMLE & Plab exams to practice there
    Why this discrimination for out own people
    Is this way the MCI do justice

  20. Even though Neet is implemented,it is of no use bcoz for a merit student to get a seat in government medical college the minimum range of marks required is about 450-500 and above
    But the qualifying marks is as low as 120-130
    The meritorious students who score 350+ are not getting seats but these just qualified students are becoming doctors.
    It’s an open truth that even if read only 1 subject,it’s enough to qualify
    Then how can students who score such less marks become doctors
    That’s the reason why abroad students mostly fail in the test bcoz they can’t cope up with the vast syllabus of MBBS especially in India
    The government should take steps to standardise medical education by increasing the qualifying marks to atleast 350

    • According to you,is it not worthy to study Medicine from abroad and then clear the screening test in india,
      I have scored 500 in neet this time,but that wont get me a seat in any good medical college,i am thinking of going abroad,would that be a wrong decision?
      Just share ur views freely .

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