New Delhi: Vacancy recruitment at the six new AIIMS have gradually become a difficult task for the Ministry of Health due to shortage of deserving candidates and the stiff salary competition that the private specialty health care facilities have to offer in terms of salary. The prospects of filling the 1,285 positions lying vacant is becoming dismal. Of the 1300 posts advertised for the 6 AIIMS last year for Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh, only 300 applications were accepted and only 200 joined.
Health Minister J P Nadda at a annual Press conference last year admitted , “We are not getting good people. Hum chalis-chalis logon ko reject kar rahen hain (We are rejecting up to 40 people at a time).” The ministry is now toying with the idea of hiring retired professors as faculty and retiring them at 70.
Of the 600-800 applications received on an average, last year, by each of the AIIMS only one in 14 applicants was found to be deserving and only two of three selected -joined. This year’s vacancies though are a little less in number. Bhopal has advertised 251 posts, Jodhpur 204, Patna 253, Raipur 204, Bhubaneswar 178, and Rishikesh 205. A total of 305 posts are sanctioned in each AIIMS, and the number of posts filled range between 55 in Patna, to 135 in Bhubaneswar.
Human resource officials looking after recruitment in the Union Health Ministry and at the new AIIMS say, getting qualified faculty are related to problems galore. Higher salary structures in the private sector for specialties such as nuclear medicine and neurosurgery is one factor, making senior professor and senior professor appointments- a near impossibility. The other major hurdle being lack of facilities in the smaller centres, where the new AIIMS facilities have been set up.
Elaborating on hiring retired professors on contract as faculty, a Health Ministry official stated, “That way we may get good, competent people who have retired from institutes like AIIMS-New Delhi, and PGI-Chandigarh.”
While a professor at AIIMS would earn around Rs 2.12 lakh every monthl including HRA, an additional professor would be payed Rs 1.91 lakh. Private sector, doctor in demand based on his specialization would earn Rs 7-8 lakh, said the director of one of the six AIIMS.
AIIMS-Jodhpur that advertised 200 posts, last year got an application response of 800 of which a mere 70 were suitable for hiring said Director, Dr Sanjeev Misra. This year, for 220 vacant posts, a thousand applications have been received and 80-odd may finally be appointed.
“The response is very good, but we are clear we do not want to compromise on quality. That is why the selection process is stringent. We are looking for excellence in teaching and research because if we do not set standards high, it will become like any other medical college. Institution-building takes time, even AIIMS-Delhi took 60 years to reach its present standards,” Dr Misra said.
AIIMS-Bhubaneswar, with 135 recruitments done of the 305 is in the strongest position of the six new institutes, says Director Dr Gitanjali Batmanabane. She believes peoples commitment to the state is what takes them back to it.
“It is more difficult to get faculty in disciplines that are in demand in the private sector, but our position is relatively better because people are keen to work for the state. I am hopeful of reaching 960 beds by the end of the year,” she told Indian Express.