The government is mulling a common governing council for all AIIMS in the country, on the lines of that of the IITs, to simplify governance procedures and bring uniformity in the rules of these medical institutes. The move comes after a high-powered committee, constituted to look at the governance structure of all new AIIMS, recommended evolving an umbrella organisation for framing common policies in terms of HR, recruitment, equipment procurement guidelines and administration in all institutes. The committee was headed by M K Bhan, former secretary in the Department of Biotechnology. Currently six AIIMS — in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Raipur, Patna and Rishikesh — are functional, apart from AIIMS, New Delhi. Besides, the government recently announced setting up of 14 more AIIMS. Though the role of the health ministry should be one of policy making and extending budgetary and financial support, in reality, it is drawn into varied executive functions and day-to-day affairs to an undesirable level, with adverse consequences, both for the ministry’s own working as well as of the institutes, the committee observed.
“As per norms, at least one or two institute body and two governing body meetings are to be held at each AIIMS, which means, the health minister being the president at every AIIMS will have to attend around 63 meetings in a year which is practically not possible. “Setting up a single common governing council will keep the minister away from day-to-day affairs of these medical institutes as he can be the chairperson of the council and take major decisions related to policies,” said a senior health ministry official. Further, to ensure the best faculty at all these new AIIMS, the committee suggested bringing in people from institutes of national importance on deputation at AIIMS, hiring retired doctors on contract and also employing NRI doctors at good salaries. Further, to provide experienced leadership and mentorship at every AIIMS, the committee suggested increasing the retirement age of the director and other faculties to 67 years.
Referring to the IIT governance model, the committee said in its report that the IIT system has an IIT council which takes care of the system as a whole focusing on issues that cut across the entire network. “Individual IIT governing boards oversee the functioning of the respective institutes within the provision of the statute, ordinance, rules and regulations approved by the council,” the report said. For setting up the governing council, the committee also suggested draft amendments in the existing AIIMS Act, Rules and Regulations.