The Rajya Sabha passed the NIMHANS Bill, 2010, on Monday.
The Bill seeks to declare the Bangalore-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences as an institution of national importance.
Replying to the debate on the Bill, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad assured that reservations will continue in the institute.
He said, “There is an apprehension as to what will happen to the present staff, what will happen to the pattern of reservation. The pattern of reservation already exists, it is similar to the government organisations. So, the existing arrangement will continue.”
Azad said it was necessary to provide the institute with greater administrative and academic autonomy so that it would be able to develop new patterns of teaching, improve course syllabi and undertake courses that are not currently part of the Medical Council of India-approved courses.
Azad said NIMHANS will soon have a helipad.
“If a patient is critical and has to be transported from the airport to the institute, we would like to have a helipad too,” he explained.
Referring to the elders’ demand for more institutes on the lines of NIMHANS in various states, the minister said an acute shortage of man power has become a stumbling block to begin new institutes.
“As far as psychiatrists are concerned, there is a requirement for 11,500 doctors, but we have only 3,800. There is a 67 per cent shortage. We have 898 clinical psychologists, but the requirement is 17,250. Here, there is a 94 per cent shortage. While the shortage for psychiatric social workers is 96 per cent, in the case of psychiatric nurses it is 50 per cent.”
Azad said the government has proposed to upgrade the Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, and Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health, Tezpur.