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Pact allows Indian nurses to work in Singapore

Posted on July 13, 2015
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Ten years after ratifying a bilateral comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), India and Singapore have signed their first mutual recognition agreement (MRA) in services, which will allow nurses trained from four premier institutes in India to practise in the other country without any additional training there.

The institutes that have been recognised by the Singapore Government include All India Institute of Medical Sciences, CMC Vellore, Trivandrum Nursing College and Manipal nursing college, a government official told BusinessLine.

“An MRA basically allows mutual recognition of qualifications. Our nurses trained in the four recognised institutes can now go to Singapore and start practising in the country without getting additional qualifications there,” the official said.

It took a long time as the professional bodies on both sides had their apprehensions. “We not only had to convince Singapore to sign the MRA in nursing with us, but our nursing bodies, too, needed reassurances that the deal would not go against them,” the official said.

The four other areas where India and Singapore had agreed to work on MRAs as part of the CEPA include dentists, architects, health service providers and chartered accountants.

“In accountancy, we first need domestic reforms before we can sign MRAs. In areas such as architecture, our professionals are apprehensive about competition from their counterparts in other countries,” pointed out Arpita Mukherjee, Professor, Icrier.

India and Singapore signed the CEPA in 2005 which provided for liberalisation of markets in both goods and services. While the goods part of the deal has been implemented as planned, the services agreement has not taken off as India had wanted.

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