CAG Raps Government for Delay in Setting up New AIIMS

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has pulled up the government over delays in setting up new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).

The performance audit of the implementation of the scheme covering the period from 2003-04 to 2016-17 brought out that inadequacies in planning and financial management coupled with poor contract management and execution of works as well as lack of synchronisation and coordination of activities resulted in undue delays in setting up of new AIIMS. The audit also found that additional costs frustrated achievement of the intended benefits and full achievement of the objectives of the scheme.

The CAG report was tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

The audit found that the scheduled dates of completion of six new AIIMS of Phase-I were between August 2011 and July 2013. Construction works were not completed by scheduled dates in any of the new AIIMS and there were delays of about four to five years.

The delay and situation worsened with shortage of staff. The report found that in six new AIIMS (Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur, and Rishikesh) shortage of faculty posts ranged from 55% to 83%. Similarly, the shortage of non-faculty posts ranged from 77% to 97%.

Though all six new AIIMS were stated to be functional, six to fourteen speciality, super-speciality, and other departments have not become functional and only 152 to 546 beds were available against the requirement of 960 beds in each of the six new AIIMS.

Holding the government responsible for financial mismanagement, the report stated, “There was a large variation in estimated cost for each new AIIMS from the initially approved cost of Rs 332 crore in March 2006 to Rs 820 crore in March 2010 that was attributable to increase in cost indices, enhancement in area requirements, inclusion of additional items in the estimates and increase in the quantum of equipment required at each AIIMS.”

“The six new AIIMS were holding an unutilized balance of funds of Rs 1,267.41 crore while Rs 393.53 crore for civil works and Rs 437.28 crore for procurement of equipment lying unspent with the executing agencies,” it said.

The audit found that in three new AIIMS (Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, and Raipur), there was excess payment of mobilization advance of Rs 16.91 crore to contractors. In six new AIIMS (Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh) 1,318 equipment valued at Rs 454 crore remained undelivered as on 31 March 2017 for period over two years from the due date of delivery.

“In six new AIIMS (Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh), 195 equipment costing Rs 72.04 crore, though received, were not installed due to reasons like pending civil work, non-availability of site, non-availability of skilled manpower etc. These equipment were lying uninstalled in the hospitals for the period ranging between three months and four years as of March 2017,” the audit report said.

The CAG recommended that the Health Ministry should frame operational guidelines that would guide and regulate implementation of the scheme across the states and take steps to expedite the completion of leftover work by better monitoring of the projects. “Ministry may take effective steps to minimise the shortage of faculty, non-faculty and technical manpower in new AIIMS and GMCIs so that the intended benefit to the beneficiaries be made available,” the report said.

The scheme was announced in August 2003 with the objective of correcting the imbalances in the availability of tertiary healthcare services and improving the quality of medical education in India. The scheme comprised setting up six AIIMS like institutions and upgradation of existing State Government Medical Colleges. – Livemint

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