Despite having proper eligibility and competence, experienced SC/ST aspirants “are not allowed to be inducted” as faculty members in AIIMS even at an initial stage, a parliamentary standing committee has alleged in a report.
The standing committee report on the welfare of scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) tabled in Lok Sabha said this is happening when out of a total of 1111 faculty positions, there are vacancies of 275 assistant professors and 92 professor at AIIMS.
The report said the Committee, therefore, is of the view that all existing vacant faculty positions must be filled within the next three months.
“The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare must submit an action plan within three months from the date of presentation of the Report to both the Houses of Parliament. The Committee also has a firm view that in future too after filling up all the existing vacant positions, no faculty seat reserved for SC/ST shall be kept vacant for more than six months under any circumstances,” it said.
“The Committee observes that in spite of having proper eligibility, competence, fully experienced SC/ST aspirants are not allowed to be inducted as faculty members even at an initial stage,” it said.
The Committee further said it is “not inclined” to accept the frequent stereotype reply of the government that no sufficient number of suitable candidates could be found. “This is, in fact, not a correct picture of assessment of the SC/ST candidates who are equally bright and deserving. But they are deliberately declared as not suitable because of wrong biased assessment by the Selection Committee just to deprive SC/ST candidates of their legitimate rights to be part of the faculty,” the committee said.
The panel also said that, at present, there is no SC and ST member in the General Body of the AIIMS, which deprives SCs/STs of their legitimate rights to be part of the decision-making process and policy matters and also to protect the interests of SCs and STs in service matters.
“It is legitimate expectations of the Committee that there must be an SC/ST member in the General Body of AIIMS to provide representation to SC/ST community and to protect their interests in service matters as well as to be part of the decision-making process of the policy being framed by the AIIMS authority and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” it said.
Noting that the reservation is not extended/applied in super-speciality courses, the panel said members belonging to SC/ST community are not able to enter the super-speciality courses. This results in unprecedented and unwarranted deprivation of SC and ST candidates and monopoly of the unreserved faculty members in the super-speciality fields, it said.
“Reservation policy must be enforced in all super-specialty fields at student as well as faculty level to ensure the presence of SC and ST faculty members. “For the purpose, the Committee are of the firm view that effective mechanism be set up to send SC and ST doctors and students to undergo specialized training abroad so that their adequate representation may be seen visibly in all super-specialty fields,” the panel said.
The committee also noted that the overall percentage of admission of SCs and STs in MBBS and other undergraduate courses and also post-graduate courses in various AIIMS is far below the required level of 15 per cent for SC and 7.5 per cent for ST.
“This shows a very dismal picture with respect to filling up of undergraduate and post graduate seats in SC and ST category in various AIIMS. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommend that AIIMS should maintain the prescribed percentage of reservation for SCs/STs in all courses strictly,” it said.
The Committee re-emphasized the fact that it is mandatory to maintain the percentage of reservations to ensure more opportunities for SCs and STs. “The Committee expects the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to make sincere efforts to fill up all vacant seats meticulously so that deserving candidates from SC/ST are not deprived of their entitled seats,” it said.
(With inputs from agencies)