Staff Reporter

‘These appointments are bound to change character of the institute’

“Decision paves way for systematic annihilation of public health institutions of repute”

Demand for filling up vacancies in keeping with procedure laid down for faculty selection soon

NEW DELHI: The All-India Institute of Medical Sciences Front for Social Consciousness has criticised the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry’s order to fill up vacant faculty positions at the Institute on a contract basis.

Stating that the Government decision was yet another in a series that paves the way for “systematic annihilation” of public health institutions of repute, the Front members warned against the current wave of contract appointments sweeping through the Capital’s medical institutions, saying this would affect the public health system. The Front has demanded that all vacant posts at AIIMS be filled on a regular basis in keeping with the procedure laid down for faculty selection at the earliest and called upon all democratic bodies at AIIMS not to be part of the process of contract appointments.

“The contract appointments at AIIMS are at the assistant professor level and are on a year’s contract, that too at a pittance. These appointments are bound to change the character of the able and capable institutes to that of teaching shops,” said a senior physician at the Institute.

“The faculty most likely to welcome such contract appointments are those who wish to cynically exploit the vast patient material in government hospitals to hone their skills before going off to make money. They will not contribute anything to the institution,” he added. A release issued by the Front on Friday said: “It is really a shame that at a time when the Government, anticipating a shortage of medical teachers, has increased the retirement age to 65 years, it is also taking steps to strike at the root of the future of medical education.”

The Front noted that contract appointments would eliminate the possibility of doing any meaningful research and seriously damage the health care prospects of future generations.

“The contract faculty will lack any incentive to develop further academically and will cease to nurture academic depth. It will be concerned only about fulfilling the minimum teaching requirements to benefit the teaching shop. Contract employees are not eligible to apply for research grants except as subordinates to the senior faculty. Nor will they ever have the stability required to solve a research question. We will be stuck with received wisdom of more ‘advanced’ nations, and solutions utterly inappropriate for our people,” warned the release. Arguing that contractual appointments make a long-term career in government-run medical institutes very unattractive, the release said this could also be the surest way of killing government institutes to benefit the private sector.

Reacting to the note of caution sounded by the Front, AIIMS Deputy Director (Administration) Shailesh Kumar Yadav said: “People are worrying unnecessarily about the situation. As of now AIIMS has no plans to implement the order and anything about contract appointments will happen only after it is cleared by the Institute’s Governing Body.”