Nearly six decades after its establishment, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has gone in for defining its mission statement. A seven-member committee, set up by the Institute Body of AIIMS last month, met here on Sunday for the first time to draft a mission statement for the premier institute.

This was one of the recommendations of the Valiathan Committee that went into the functioning of major healthcare institutions in India, including AIIMS and Post Graduation Institutes (PGIs).

It suggested radical restructuring by recommending full autonomy — administrative and financial — on the lines of Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management.

The drafting committee, chaired by AIIMS Director Professor R.C. Deka, exchanged various drafts and ideas on what the mission statement should say. While the members decided to keep sharing ideas through emails, it was agreed that the mission statement should be ready by February, just before the existing Institute Body and Governing Body are re-constituted.

The Valiathan Committee recommended developing a mission statement — through discussions among the faculty and other stakeholders — that should be inspirational and, at the same time, indicative of its commitment to advance medical education, standards of hospital care and biomedical research for the well-being of the Indian people and progress of the economy.

The mission statement should receive the approval of the Institute Body and appear in the official reports and documents of the Institute and its website. It may or may not require any amendments to the AIIMS Act when adopted. If drafted within the framework of the Act, the statement can be accepted without necessitating any change in the Act.

As per the AIIMS Act, 1956, the objects of the Institute are to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in all its branches so as to demonstrate a high standard of education to all medical colleges and other allied institutions in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order for the training of personnel in all important branches of health activity; and to attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate medical education.

Established as an institute of national importance, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeks to reform and convert PGIs, AIIMS and upcoming AIIMS-like institutes across the country into institutes of excellence on par with the best medical institutions of the world.