BENGALURU: The Centre is yet to appoint a new Director of the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) even as the term of senior professor of Epidemiology and in-charge director, Dr G Gururaj, is coming to an end on April 12, when he will attain the age of 65 years. The appointment of the Head of Neurology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and the Director-designate Prof M V Padma Srivastava did not come through, though the reasons are yet not known. She was to take charge as NIMHANS Director on February 1 from Dr Gururaj.
The Director of NIMHANS is appointed for a period of five years by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) on the recommendations made by the search committee, which are vetted by the Union Health Ministry. According to sources, the ACC is yet to meet and formally to announce the appointment of the new Director.
Going by the earlier track record, in the absence of a regular head, the senior-most faculty of NIMHANS will probably be made interim director of the apex mental health institution.The Director’s post became an open selection post after 2012 when NIMHANS was made an Institute of National Importance (INI) by Parliament. Eight candidates had applied for the Director’s post after it had fallen vacant with the superannuation of the then director Gangadhar.
Those who had applied for the Director’s post included the Head of Department (HoD), Psychiatry, Dr Prathima Murthy, former HoD, Psychiatry, Dr Prabha Chandra, former HoDs, Neurology, Dr Nalini and Dr Pramod Pal and former HoD, Neurosurgery, Dr Malla Bhaskara Rao.
Three candidates from outside NIMHANS, including Dr Padma, had applied for the top post after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had advertised for the post in March last year. The interview was conducted virtually by the Union Minister of Health Dr Harsh Vardhan and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.