Only 16% Indians with Foreign Medical Degrees are fit (eligible) to Practice in the country

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Thousands of Indian students go abroad for their Medical Education owing to fewer seats & stiff competition in the country. The students who pursue their medical education abroad are required to get through the screening test conducted by the MCI before they can start medical practice. Between 2012 & 2016, only 16% of those appeared for the screening test have passed. 

The annual intake of all medical colleges in India is about 67000 while the annual intake of engineering colleges is about 25 times that number. Lack of sufficient number of medical colleges has been resulting in stiff competition for the existing medical seats.  This has in turn given rise to an increasing trend of Indian students going abroad for their medical education. While some countries provide standard medical education, most countries chosen by Indian students do not maintain similar standards. Hence, only 16% of them pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE), a prerequisite to start medical practice in India.

Indian Graduates with Foreign Medical Degrees – What does the law say?
Indian students can seek medical qualification from any recognized medical education institution in a foreign country. To be able to practice in India after obtaining their degree abroad, the students are required to register with the State Medical Council (SMC). Further, SMCs register a student with foreign medical qualification only after he appears and gets through the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE). The FMGE is conducted twice a year in June & December and a candidate has to score a minimum of 50% marks in each of the papers to be declared passed. A candidate has a maximum of 3 attempts to pass the examination.

This is a statutory requirement as per section 13(4A) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 amended in 2002. Those who hold an under graduate as well as post graduate medical degree from the following countries need not take the FMGE and they can directly be registered by the SMCs.

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

What percentage of candidates pass the Screening Test (FMGE)?
As per the data available with the government, only about 16% of the candidates who appeared for the screening test between 2012-13 and 2016-17 have passed the FMGE. Close to 14000 candidates appeared for the FMGE in 2012-13. This number reduced to 6395 in 2013-14. Since 2014-15, the number of candidates appearing for the FMGE is more or less close to 12000. The pass percentage in the FMGE has declined continuously from 2012-13. While 28.3% candidates passed in 2012-13, only 9.44% passed in 2016-17.

China & Russia account for half the test takers
The data on the number of Indian students who go abroad for medical education is not maintained by the government. But, the number of Indian students who take the FMGE with medical degree from a foreign country gives a  fair idea of who goes where. The list of countries is dominated by China followed by Russia. Together, both the countries accounted for a little over 30000 FMGE takers from 2012-13 to 2016-17, more than half of all the test takers. Ukraine & Nepal are the only other countries with more than 5000 FMGE takers during this period.  More than 100 candidates each, with medical degrees from 18 different countries took the FMGE from 2012-13 to 2016-17.
Students with Medical Degree from UAE & Bangladesh perform the best
Of those countries with more than 100 test takers between 2012-13 and 2016-17, candidates with medical degree from UAE performed the best with a pass percentage of 36.3% followed by those from Bangladesh (27.7%), Georgia (18.7%), Philippines (18.6%) and Nepal (17.7%) in that order. Though China & Russia account for the greatest number of FMGE takers, only 14.5% candidates with a medical degree from China and only 14.7% candidates with a degree from Russia passed the screening test.

Foreign Medical Education Standards
The pass percentage of only 16% is indicative of poor standards of medical education in some of these countries. Students are often lured because of the lower fee and a guaranteed seat. Though the government has issued certain guidelines, the number of students pursuing medical education abroad hasn’t gone down.

Featured Image:
Photo: cityscape by Srinivas Kompally,
Icons:Doctor by Wilson Joseph from the Noun Project, “Medical-Council-of-India” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

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31 Comments

  1. I don’t know how the author has has come to conclusion that the standard of medical education is poor in those institution. If the paper is given to Indian medical student, then also the pass percentage will be around 15% only means the screening test is not conducted in a transparent manner.

    • Yes you really say truth I’m also agree with your opinion…. That is mci exam is also not qualified by Indian medical students… .

    • Ha ha! This is really funny to note that standards of medical education in nepal and bangladesh are way higher than that of developed countries!! What a cruel joke!! India qualified doctors do not enjoy any credentials/recognition abroad unless they pass their qualifications!

    • I m at USA from past 32 years and my daughter is in medical school . Yes USA education in medical is very different and very hard to get in and very better . Here they look at GPA of BS, MCAT and lot of other work done and research and publication. Don’t even try to compare with those doc who goes there after 12th grade . Impossible to even compare .Interview is very tough here after all .

    • I want a suggestion from the FMGE dr that what I have to go for bas in India or mbbs at Russian…?
      Please suggest me

  2. can someone tell me about the employment norms in foreign countries. can we start practicing medicine after studies completion in foreign countries

  3. I want to ask the success man …about how the success appeared in foreign studies…kindly reply here for inspiring us in foreign studies…if any success appeared after MBBS …

  4. Your review is just biased. Nobody is perfect even Indian medical graduates. They learn most of the stuff during internship.if they is the case why only a few 1000 get free PG seats and not others?? Does that mean we have a bad standard?!. go to Delhi gautham Nagar and see how much fmge students struggle and how much effort they put to study. Just mugging up mcq’s won’t make you a good doctor. While practicing it’s a different scenario. If your not a doctor you have rights to comment.. you don’t really know what is happening in private colleges.. they will do anything to pass their studies reputation issue..

  5. Pingback: FMGE or USMLE - Which one is better for medical students?

  6. I HAVE A SUGGESTION TO mci/govt. of india on MCIscreening test
    i have observed that the indian medical graduates are at par with the FMG in terms of medical knowledge.
    The know nothing and assist the senior doctors in taking BP/temperature/filling different lab test forms/case histiry of patient/admission& discharge summery of patient/making diffeent entries related to record in different registers etc,
    However with the pasage of time and experience of one/two years they are able to handle routine/seasonal disease, or reoccuring disease, which otherwise subside in four five days by itself.
    THERE IS ALSO ACUTE SHORTAGE OF doctors and we do not have sufficient no. of medical colleges to produce the required no. of doctors to meet the doctors/patient ratio of 1:1000
    MY SUGGESTION IS THAT mci SHOULD GIVE AND OPTION TO THE FMGs TO EITHER QULIFY THE SCREENING TEST OR UNDERGO AN INTERNSHIP OF TWO YEARS IN ANY GOVT./GOVT.RECOGNISED INSTITUTION/HOSPITAL BEFRE BEING REGISTED IN THE MCI FOR PRACTICE IN INDIA.
    tHIS WILLHELP INDIA GET THE MAXI. NO. OF DOCTORS WORKING AND PATIENT GETING THE CARE, WHICH OTHERWISE fmgS ARE OF NO USE WITHOUT CLEARING THE MCI SCREEINING FOR YEARS AND A TRAINED MEDICAL HAND REMAINS UNUSED FOR YEARS.

  7. YES THIS MEANS THE MEDICAL DEGREE MBBS OF FMG WILL BE COMP;ETED IN 7.5 T-8 YEARS
    WICH WILL HAVE TWO INTERNSHIP
    ONE WILL OF ONE YEAR WHILE DOING THE MBBS
    AND SECOND WILL OF TWO YEARS IN LIEU OF EXEMPTION FROM QUALIFYING THE MCI SCREENING TEST
    I HOPE THIS TWO YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH TO FMILARISE THE FMG WITH INDIAN MEDICINE/DISEASE/PATIENT AND ALL OTHER RELEVANT REQUIRED EXPERIENCE

    • No.its not a good university
      If you join.in ukraine means tell me
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  8. ngangom doren meetei on

    If i study in china after the completion of mbbs course ,surely i will face the mci exam here i want to ask two question 1.no.of attemps the mci exam 2. Pass of china student

  9. I have only one question on this issue. Please explain, if anyone can, if Indian medical education is of such a high standard, why does only AIIMS rank among the top 1000, and that too at almost 800? Universities in eastern Europe – Czech Republic and Hungary for example – rank among the top 200

  10. RAMESHKUMAR V on

    It is quite a wrong assessment that the quality of medical education in foreign countries are poor. The assessment is poor. The major criterion for low percentage is the low quality of a major share of students. Even with 40% marks in plus two examination, one can go abroad for medical education. In fact, the medical schools would have maintained a good selection criteria for admission. Also that if the medical graduates who passout from Indian medical schools must also be made subject to FMGE. Then we can find that they also find it hard to pass FMGE.

  11. Are you sure than only 3 attempts are only allowed ??? and pl share me the terms & conditions sheet ..
    Thanks..

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