Students armed with placards protest against the MCI proposal at MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi, Jamshedpur, on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Over 250 students of MGM Medical College in Jamshedpur on Thursday boycotted their internal examinations and joined the nationwide protest against the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) proposal to increase duration of MBBS from 5.5 to 7.5 years.
The MCI has recently sought approval from the Union health ministry on a plan stating that students must undergo 4.5 years of MBBS studies in addition to two years of internship. These apart, one-year rural posting must be mandatory for them before they are eligible to pursue post graduate (PG) courses. The current 5.5-year course includes a year’s internship.
Students raised slogans against the MCI and the health ministry on the MGM hospital premises in Sakchi since morning. “We are human beings. We have to start earning early and support our parents. We cannot wait for an eternity to become professionals,” said Ram Pravesh Singh, a fourth-year student.
Others claimed that the prolonged course duration would discourage aspirants.
The students also opposed the mandatory rural posting to become eligible for MD/MS courses. “The rural posting can be incorporated within the existing MBBS structure or included as a part of the PG course,” Singh said.
As no student appeared for the internal tests, the college authorities had to scrap them.
Members of the Junior Doctors’ Association at MGM extended support to the students. They did not attend OPD duties at MGM hospital.
“Our members will continue to support the protest in this manner till the MCI proposal is scrapped,” association secretary Chakraborty Kumar Singh said.
MGM superintendent S.K. Chowdhury claimed the OPD services were not affected. He, however, expressed his anguish over the junior doctors’ move.
“They did not give me in writing that they would not work today (Thursday). They should have intimated me,” said Chowdhury.
Patients, however, complained of inconveniences.
Azadnagar resident Nazma Khatoon said she waited three hours in queue to get her son a check-up by a senior doctor for stomach disorder.
“The wait was punishing, especially for my ailing child,” the mother said.