Government has established the brand AIIMS in other parts of India but it is just left for the namesake as two such medical institutions — AIIMS Patna and Raipur is struggling to find takers for the MBBS course.
Sources at AIIMS, New Delhi, the nodal center for counselling and admissions to AIIMS-like institutions said, as many as 44 seats have been lying vacant in these institutions despite four consecutive counselling sessions.
"Normally, the number of applicants called for counselling is five to eight times the number of seats available. But in the last counselling we sent out letter to all candidates who had cleared the written exam. Still, the seats could not be filled," said a senior officer involved in the admission process. He said poor infrastructure, lack of faculty, clinical exposure and hostel facility are some of the reasons cited by students for refusing to take admission to these colleges.
"Many students said they would prefer to take admission in established regional medical colleges, such as the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), over the AIIMS-like institution," said one of the examiners.
When asked, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said, "It is sad that seats are going vacant but I will have to check the reasons before commenting." He said the new AIIMS-like institutions are still in the process of being developed and within months these would be made fully functional. "We should not compare a new institution to the one existing for over six decades," the health minister said.
Six AIIMS-like institutions have been set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) in Patna, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Rishikesh and Raipur to spread top quality medical services and education to regions beyond Delhi.