AIIMS operates on a budget of Rs 600 crore — 70 per cent of which is spent on staff salaries and pensions. Rs 5.5 lakh was spent this year to feed 1,000 guests for the Institute Day ceremony on September 25, and another Rs 45 lakh to renovate director R.C. Deka’s official residence. Patients, meanwhile, continue to eat, sleep and wait for treatment in cramped, waiting areas. More than 200 people sleep in a space meant for 60 people in the waiting area, located next to the cardio-neurosciences centre inside the campus.
Two adults sleeping between the rows of chairs, a woman cooking a simple meal of rice and dal, or an expecting mother in her full-term pregnancy washing clothes in a corner is a common sight.