A bill seeking to grant statutory powers to Bangalore-based NIMHANS, an institute of international repute for neurological and psychiatric disorders, was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The bill seeks to declare NIMHANS, Bangalore, an institute of national importance on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to facilitate it to develop patterns of teaching, with the flexibility to device new courses and undertake research activities.
"The conferring of statutory status on this institute will enable it to grow into a model centre of excellence," National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, Bill 2010, which was introduced by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
"This Bill will empower the institute with academic autonomy to develop its own curriculum, set new trends in mental health and neuro sciences, award its own degrees and also enable it to have administrative and financial powers," said its statement of objectives and reasons.
"The decision to declare it as an institution of national importance was taken to develop it as a high level institution of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences on par with AIIMS, Delhi, PGIMER, Chandigarh and JIPMER, Puducherry," it said.
The tertiary care medical and academic institution in its present form faces constraints in growth and launching new courses as per present needs of the country, research and enhanced service delivery including rehabilitation of patients with neurological and mental disability.
NIMHANS was set up as an autonomous body under Karnataka Societies Registration Act in December 1974 by integrating the erstwhile All India Institute of Mental Health, Government of India, and Mental Hospital, Bangalore under Karnataka government.
Under the new legislation, the Health Minister will be its President while Director of the Institute, Director General, Health Services, Government of India, Vice-chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka and Chief Secretary Karnataka will be ex-officio members besides secretaries of Health Finance and Human Resource Development at the centre.
It will also have seven members nominated by the Centre including a non-medical scientist, four representatives of medical faculties of Indian Universities, nominated by the Centre and three members of Parliament.
Presently, the institute under the Ministry of Health has a budget provision of Rs 113.38 crore.