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HoDs may soon have four-yr stint at AIIMS

 New Delhi: The tenure of the head of the departments of India’s  premiere All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) may soon  be restricted to four years. For the first time, the Institute’s  governing body on Monday cleared the proposal for rotating  HODs.

The GB said it supports the idea in principle and will soon create a  committee to work out the modalities. At present, a professor can  stay as the HOD till he retires.

“The tenure of HODs will now be fixed. On completion of term, the  next most senior professor will take charge. We are working on the  modalities now. We are yet to decide whether the tenure will be for  two years of four years,” a ministry official said. The proposal has been met with mixed reactions. While some faculty members welcomed it, others said, “it would lead to instability within departments.”

“The GB should not roll it out immediately. Some time must be given for the transition to take place,” a faculty member told TOI. This was one of the recommendations made by the M S Valiathan committee appointed by prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The recommendation had said, “Headships of departments should be rotated every five years.”

The call to implement the recommendations of the M S Valiathan committee also got louder on the eve of the meeting. The ministry had set up the committee on July 11, 2006 under the chairmanship of Prof Valiathan, former director, Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Thiruvanathapuram, to study the functioning of AIIMS and to make recommendations for its further development.

The committee had consultations with experts and submitted it to the ministry on October 10, 2006. The report made 38 recommendations, broadly categorized into two parts – those not requiring structural changes through amendments in AIIMS Act, Rules and Regulations (31 recommendations) and those requiring structural changes through amendments in AIIMS Act, Rules and Regulations (7 recommendations).

One of the most important recommendations by the committee said the Union health minister should not be the head of the institute as it presently is.

This, the committee said, destroyed autonomy. It said, “It would no longer be practical or productive for the minister of health to preside over individual institutions. The committee therefore recommended that the minister may preside over joint council of AIIMS, PGI and other AIIMS-type institutions, which should be created for this purpose.”

The committee also said the standing committees should be reconstituted. The period of the service of the members other than ex-officio members should be limited to one term in the Institute Body and the standing committee. The selection for the director’s post should be done by a search-cum-selection committee headed by the president of the Institute and consisting of the director general of health services, director general of ICMR, vice chancellor of the Delhi University and four members of the Institute Body who are nominated.

The recommendations also include – for 5 years of completed service where a professor has been academically and scientifically productive, he/she should be granted sabbatical leave for one year to be spent in any institution of learning in India or abroad. For assistant professors/associate professors who have innovative ideas for research, seed money up to Rs 100,000 should be granted to undertake a study or do a pilot project. (TOI)


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