Proposing a major overhaul of autonomous bodies which have proliferated in recent years in the Health and alternative medicine sectors, the government has earmarked for closure four such bodies, including three whose functioning will now be vested in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These are among 42 autonomous bodies which are to be “reduced” as part of the first phase of the review.
The three autonomous bodies to be brought under the health ministry are the Central Medical Services Society, Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi and Jansankhya Sthirata Kosh, all in New Delhi. The fourth, the National Academy of Medical Sciences, is set to be merged with the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare. Of the 114 autonomous bodies picked for the first phase of the review, barring one, all come under the Societies Registration Act. St John’s Ambulance, the lone exception, has already been listed for closure — as part of the review, it has been “recommended to be removed from the list of autonomous bodies”. This means it will no longer get any central assistance.
Twelve autonomous bodies, currently under the Ministry of AYUSH, are to brought under a common umbrella, with the intention of cutting overlapping outlays and infrastructure.
Three Ayurveda institutes in Jaipur and New Delhi will be clubbed into one body; two homoeopathy research institutes in New Delhi and Kolkata will be merged; three institutes of yoga and naturopathy in Delhi and Pune will now converge as one entity; two institutes conducting research in Siddha and located in Chennai will function as one, and two institutes conducting research in Unani medicine in New Delhi and Bengaluru will come under a common umbrella.
This exercise of clubbing autonomous bodies under the banner of the Ministry of AYUSH will mean that seven of them will no longer be funded by the government. Similar treatment has been recommended for autonomous bodies dealing with Buddhist and Tibetan studies, funded by the Ministry of Culture.
The four picked to be brought under the “umbrella mechanism” are the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in Leh; Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies in Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh; Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, and the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara.
Besides these, seven cultural centres being run by the Ministry of Culture are also to be brought under the single-umbrella arrangement. The Indian Express reported Wednesday that the first phase of the review covers 114 bodies under seven ministries/departments from 679 for which central assistance of Rs 72,206 crore has been provided in the annual Budget.