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Rims Studentd call off strike

The agitating medical students of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (Rims), who were part of a nationwide protest against a Medical Council of India (MCI) recommendation to extend the MBBS curriculum to seven and a half years, called off their protests on Saturday as Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Union health minister clarified that there was no such proposal. The health minister met with the representatives of the agitating students in New Delhi and cleared the air over such speculations, a press release issued by the health ministry said.

"We called off the peaceful protests after we were assured that the existing tenure of five and a half years of the medical curriculum will remain," said Vidya Charan, a final-year student of RIMS. The proposed curriculum reportedly extended the MBBS undergraduate curriculum by two years. Students would have to spend one more year in internship and at a rural medical facility for a year, adding two more years to the lengthy curriculum.

However, in a letter to the MCI in November last year, the Union health ministry had proposed a year of practice in rural facilities mandatory for a medical graduate before they sought admission in a PG course.

The recommendation managed to stay under wraps all this while before students got the wind of it. It was misinterpreted by the RIMS students, who took to the streets on Wednesday, demanding the repealing of the recommendation. They went on a strike for four hours a day inside the RIMS campus and flashed black badges in condemnation since Wednesday.

The health minister has directed the officials concerned to keep the notification in abeyance. He has also assured that a rural posting will not be mandatory for appearing the PG examination in the 2015-2016 session.

Dr Nisith Ekka, joint secretary of the Jharkhand unit of Indian Medical Association (IMA), which in turn had lent its support to the agitating students, has welcomed the move. "The proposal was unjust and has been rightly taken back," he said. "The government should hire doctors and send them to the rural primary health centres (PHC) rather than forcing them to do so," he added. source-timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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