Caste politics is depriving India's premier medical institute of close to 100 senior faculty positions. In the past two years, 95 positions have been left vacant, as no decision could be made regarding faculty allocations at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS). And now, giving in to protests from faculty and resident doctors, the Union Ministry has withheld the matter.
The letter issued to the faculty by the administrative head at AIIMS read: “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare vide their letter dated 10/11 December, 2008, has however conveyed that the process of recruitment under special recruitment drive of SC, ST and OBC as advertised on 04.11.2008 may be kept in abeyance till further orders.”
The advertisement, issued on November 4 in national dailies, invited 95 posts from SC/ST and OBC candidates, leaving out general category applicants altogether.
Kumar Harsh, President, Resident Doctors Association and senior resident said, “Finally there is some hope for merit. But we still have a long battle ahead.”
Earlier in November, faculty and senior residents had threatened to to take the matter to court if the ministry did not withdraw the advertisement. "There will be mass exodus of doctors if administration continues to have its way. It is indeed unfortunate that AIIMS administration is willing to sacrifice merit at the cost of reservation," said Harsh.
Dr Binod Khaitan, president, faculty association at AIIMS said, “The decision of reservation on openings for junior faculty positions remains undecided and the matter is still in court. How can the administration suddenly decide to fill all vacancies for senior positions with reserved candidates at a go?”
AIIMS administration had justified the advertisement saying that they were following the Supreme Court order, which lays out 49.5 per cent reservation for the faculty.