New Delhi: The Federal structure of the Constitution is often quoted as an excuse by the Mamata Banerjee government during the confrontation with central authorities.
Here is an instance. Nearly 18,000 medical students were forced to leave their education midway and return to India after Russia invaded Ukraine.
There are concerns and sympathies, and as per existing norms and procedures, not much can be done on the ground. There is perhaps also ‘no way’ of incorporating such a large number of students in India, which has around 90,000 MBBS seats available and around 16 lakh applicants.
But ‘cheap publicity’ being the guiding force, the Mamata regime is perhaps heading for another confrontation round. The norms do not matter!
The West Bengal government says students (from the state) can choose to attend practical classes in government colleges.
The National Medical Council (NMC) is the regulatory body for medical education, and it says such students will not be eligible for the crucial Foreign Medical Graduates Exam.
The current guidelines state clearly that foreign medical graduates should have completed their theory and practical medical education and a 12-month internship at the same college.
Norms are also clear that any decision about medical students from Ukraine or any other country in India has to come from NMC and not from any state authority.
Of course, as per the nature and gravity of the problem, the central government and concerned authorities are well aware of the problems faced by Indian medical students who returned from war-hit Ukraine.
“We have said before also, the states or any political party or any organisation should not make any irresponsible comments about the situation with Ukraine students,” an official says.
But with the confrontation loving and governance-starved West Bengal, who cares!
It is also learnt that the West Bengal authorities have made local arrangements taking no permission from the National Medical Council.
172 students in Bengal and 135 others in the fourth and fifth year have been allotted “observing seats” in government colleges to complete so-called ‘practical training’.
Even the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA) does not agree with the state government’s stand.
Of course, there is nothing called ‘observing seats’ in India.
Sometimes, MBBS passouts work under various specialists for training in that particular area, which is referred to as observership. But that cannot be applied to someone who has not completed the basic MBBS course. But in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state, who bothers.