Recognised in Southeast Asia as a centre of excellence in the field of medical sciences, education and research, the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has inspired the government to set up similar super-speciality institutes in other states.
On Thursday, the government sanctioned Rs 16.46 billion ($340 million) for setting up two more such premier institutes - in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
AIIMS, which became functional in 1956 as an autonomous institution through an act of parliament to serve as a nucleus for nurturing excellence in all aspects of health care, draws 5,000 to 7,000 people every day from far off places, including Patna and Uttarakhand.
The prestigious institute boasts of some of the best doctors in the field, who are known the world over, and also offers excellent patient care.
Not only does the super-speciality institute conduct complicated surgical procedures, it caters to VIPs like the prime minister, president and judges as well.
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underwent a cardiac surgery there last week, he said: "I chose the All India Institute of Medical Sciences because I have confidence in your ability and to encourage the general public to come in New Delhi for treatment. I hope every patient receives the same care as you have given me."
AIIMS has emerged as north India's best government hospital with over 1,800 beds and treats over 9,000 people daily.
With the aim to provide similar kind of facilities at affordable rates to people living in cities that don't have such healthcare facilities and provide facilities for quality medical education, the union cabinet in 2006 approved the setting up of six AIIMS like institutions.
The idea was first proposed in 2003 by the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government but cleared in 2006 by Manmohan Singh.
The institutes are being set up in Patna in Bihar, Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand at an estimated cost of Rs 332 crore ((Rs 3.32 billion) each.
All the hospitals would be 960-bedded and are intended to provide healthcare facilities in 39 speciality or super-speciality disciplines.
They would provide undergraduate medical education for 100 students per year. These institutes are slated to be completed by 2010-2011.
With two more hospitals being approved, it takes the total number to eight.
The new referral institutes, to be established at a cost of Rs 8.23 billion each, will be located at Raiganj in West Bengal's North Dinajpur district and at a site to be chosen by the Uttar Pradesh government.
Each institution will have a 960-bedded hospital, with 500 beds for the medial college hospital and 300 beds for its speciality and super speciality departments.
This apart, 100 beds will be set aside for the ICU and accident trauma department, 30 beds for physical medicine and rehabilitation departments and 30 beds for the Ayush (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) departments.