SKIMS under CAG scanner

CAG’s report on the question of utilization of funds by the prestigious Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) for the period 2007-12, leaves   one disappointed in more than one way. Take the case of one item, the research work. Out of total budgeted grant of 813 crore rupees provide by the Government of India for research work, the institute has utilized only 0.04 per cent in five years. No meaningful research work has been done, leave aside research of higher quality. The audit report says that out of a sum of 39 lakh rupees, 31 lakh have been advanced to 80 SKIM faculties, and 74 out of the 80 faculties had not sent in the adjustment account of the advances made to them. The CAG has found big lacunae in many other areas of the institute ranging from corruption, mismanagement, misappropriation and inefficiency. Grants provided for purchase of equipment were unused and then transferred illegally to other heads to save them from getting lapsed. Grants to the tune of five crore rupees were provided by the Union Government for opening Cancer Treatment Centre of Excellence but despite elapsing of five years no centre for cancer treatment has come up.  Condition of drug procurement and drug testing system has also come under server criticism of the CAG.
SKIMS was designed by the late leader, Sheikh Abdullah, as a centre of advanced Medical Institute. State Governments over the time and the Union Health Ministry both have provided the institute frugal funding to make it a really prestigious institute. Selection of faculties was done through rigorous exercise of selection and most modern medical equipment was provided locally or through international tenders. This all generated the hope that this would be the super medical institute in the State. Unfortunately, its level of functioning has become controversial. We hope that the institute will be restored to its expected status and position by bringing in much required reforms in administration and functionality.