NEW DELHI: With the aim of strengthening the health infrastructure, the government is all set to allow foreign doctors to practise in India.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is all set to give the nod to Medical Council of India (MCI) to begin registration of doctors without any test. The proposal vetted by Ministry of Law and Justice will soon be notified.
The move will help overcome the shortage of six lakh doctors in the country. There are only 60,000 medical seats available in the country at present. To fight the rising demand, India needs one lakh doctors per year to boost the health arena.
This is a major shift from the current policy that allows only Indian citizen-doctors with foreign degrees to practise (after clearing an MCI test).
Since 2002, it has been made mandatory for Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) to clear the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE) to secure an MCI registration, without which they cannot practice in India.
Of the 29,968 students who appeared for the last five examinations, only 3,610 (12 per cent) have passed.
Although foreign talents are unlikely to solve the manpower crisis in the rural health sector, it may, however, give a fillip to urban medical centres.
Till now, foreign doctors were allowed to study in India and if required MCI would give them temporary registration, following which they can practice in any hospital here.
The new rule is likely to widen the scope to include doctors from other countries apart from USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia whose doctors are allowed to practise as per provisions.
The move is also likely to benefit thousands of Indianorigin doctors who want to practise in their country but could not due to stringent rules and regulations.
As per the present law, Indian students can seek medical qualification from any recognised medical education institution in a foreign country. But such students are required to register with a State Medical Council (SMC) in order to practise in India after obtaining their degree.