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Students Likely to Get 10 Years to Complete MBBS, National Medical Commission Proposes Cap on Time Allotted to Finish Degree

Candidates clearing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) will have to complete their MBBS degrees in 10 years’ time, proposes the Indian medical education regulator – National Medical Commission (NMC). Currently, once a candidate gets into MBBS they have no time limit to complete their degrees.

The NMC has proposed to put a cap for medical aspirants, within which they have to complete their MBBS course. The MBBS is a 5.5-year course that is divided into 4.5 years of academic education and a one-year mandatory internship. This undergraduate degree programme leads to two degrees, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

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The idea of having a cap on the duration of the course is still in the proposal stage. The aim of this proposal is to remove non-serious candidates from the field.

The President of the Undergraduate Medical Education Board at the NMC, Aruna V Vanikar told a leading daily that the 10-year-cap proposal is part of the draft on the National Exit Test (NEXT), which will be sent to the Union Health Ministry for approval.

NEXT is the final year MBBS exam which will be held at the national level. It will also be used for scoring students for PG courses in medicine. NEXT will be held from 2023. Vanikar shared that though it is not a regular feature that medical aspirants take very long to complete their degrees, there have been several instances across India, which include foreign medical graduates as well.

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She said that some universities even allow students to drop years and resume the course after a gap. Vanikar opined that the duration of the MBBS course, without an internship, is 4.5 years, so under no circumstance, a candidate should take more than 10 years to complete the degree.

The regulators are not fixing an age cap for the candidates, which means, anyone at any age can pursue the course within the specified period of time. However, the minimum age to take admission in MBBS is 17 years.

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