Parliament concern over future of students evacuated from Ukraine

Absorb them in colleges and waive off their loans, say MPs

March 14, 2022 09:54 pm | Updated March 15, 2022 08:05 am IST - New Delhi:

India brought back over 18,000 students from the war-torn Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. File

India brought back over 18,000 students from the war-torn Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. File | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

The government on Monday assured the Lok Sabha it will look into measures that can be taken so Indian students brought back to the country from Ukraine under Operation Ganga can complete their education.

Union Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan also said that Operation Ganga, carried out under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to evacuate Indian students from Ukraine, is proof of the "collective wisdom of 130 crore Indians".

Also read:Explained | Why do Indians go abroad for medical studies?

Earlier on Monday, members from both the Houses of Parliament expressed concern over the future of the students who returned from Ukraine because of the war with Russia on aspects from allowing medical students to complete their degrees in Indian medical colleges to waiving off educational loans.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Rajmohan Unnithan (Congress) claimed that thousands of students from Kerala were still stranded in Sumy in Ukraine and demanded that the government take urgent steps to bring them to safety.

Congress Chief Whip Kodikunnil Suresh wanted the government to invoke the clause of “act of war” to waive off education loans taken by the students and save them falling into a debt trap.

“The majority of students who have returned from Ukraine and their families are staring at significant debts and by taking note of the situation that this is an act of war, their educational loans must be waived,” Mr. Suresh said.

He also demanded that the government extend specialised help to students to overcome the mental trauma faced in a war zone and suggested that it set up a student welfare wing in every Embassy to help students in times of crisis.

YSRCP members in the Lower House P.V. Midhun Reddy and M. Sreenivasulu Reddy demanded that the government take steps to allow the students to complete their course by admitting them in medical colleges in India, adding that the government should open more medical colleges.

Abdul Khaleque (Congress) asked why the government waited until war broke out and said, “Indian students had to reach countries neighbouring Ukraine on their own. In reality, this cannot be termed as evacuation as is being claimed by the government”.

TDP MP K. Ravindra Kumar was the first one to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha during the Zero Hour and urged the government to hold consultations with the stakeholders including the National Medical Commission to absorb the students.

“The education of those students has now come to a standstill. What is going to be done by the government, it must clarify because they have to provide relief on that matter,” K.C. Venugopal (Congress) said.

Biju Janata Dal’s Amar Patnaik said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has suggested that seats should be increased by 2-5% in all the private and government medical colleges .

“Also take care of the fifth year which has the clinical component in some ingenious method so that their education is not compromised,” he said.

TMC MP Shantanu Sen said, “My humble submission before the government is, please take care of those students who were forced to leave their studies in between. Many of them are in first year, second year and third year. Some special steps should be taken to accommodate them here in India.”

With inputs from PTI

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