Large numbers of medical aspirants, including from the North East, are making a beeline to medical colleges in Bangladesh.
This was informed by the Border Security Force (BSF) officials manning the Indian land borders with Bangladesh which one had to cross, to enter that country by land route.
The arduous National Eligibility cum Entrance Test ( NEET) which is the examination one must clear to get into most medical colleges of India, the limited number of medical seats in the country and prohibitive prices in most private medical colleges of the country and in most developed foreign countries, are the factors which are pushing many to study in Bangladesh. Education and living costs in Bangladesh are far cheaper than in private colleges of India some of whose tuition fees for the entire MBBS course including can add up to Rs 50 lakh!. In contrast, the tuition fees of top medical colleges of Bangladesh range between Rs 28 lakh to Rs 30 lakh.
Additionally, it is easy and cheap to reach Bangladesh by road, and climatically and food wise the country is easy to adapt to, especially for rice eating people of the North East. Coupled with these positives is the fact that Bangladesh offers identical medical studies curriculum with the same books as in India, the MBBS study duration is same and the MBBS degrees offered by most colleges there are approved by the Medical Council of India.
It must be noted here that this year, 16 lakh aspirants took the NEET examination held on 12th September, conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA), as against the 83,075 MBBS seats, 26,949 seats in BDS courses, 50,720 Ayush seats and 525 seats for Veterinary and Animal Husbandry. The NEET examination results were declared on the 1st of November.
As of now, entry of tourists from and to Bangladesh is not yet permitted as per Covid restrictions. However, travel for business, education and medical treatment are allowed.
As per BSF sources, the International Check post at Petrapole in West Bengal alone, which is adjacent to Bangladesh’s Benapole post in their Jessore district, witnessed entry of 800 – 900 visitors from Bangladesh per day in October, while about 500 Indians went to that country per day in the same period. In pre-Covid days this post saw movement of 5000 individuals per day.
A major chunk of these visits are for business purpose. In October alone, according to BSF commandant Arun Kumar at Petrapole, India exported goods worth Rs 1784.04 crore to Bangladesh, while the imports from Bangladesh stood at Rs. 882.40 crore.
India exports a wide range of goods to Bangladesh. These include cotton and synthetic fabrics, motor vehicles, three and two wheeler vehicles, vehicle spare parts, medicines, books, iron and steel products, bicycles, cosmetics and stationery items, heavy engineering items, boulders, stone chips, fruits, vegetables, onion, chilly, turmeric spices etc.
The imports from Bangladesh include fish, readymade garments, jute, rice bran, betel nut, suitcases, electronic items, cotton rags etc.
Director VISION COMMUNICATIONS