Several members and supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have promoted the claim that PM Modi’s tenure saw the maximum number of AIIMS come up in the country compared to previous prime ministers. An infographic shared in this regard claims that only one AIIMS was developed when Manmohan Singh was in power while PM Modi has established 15 AIIMS in the last seven years.

Nand Kishore Yadav, cabinet minister for road construction in the Government of Bihar, was among those who shared the claim.

Actor Kangana Ranaut shared an infographic that claimed that 14 AIIMS were developed under the Modi government. “Dogs keep barking. Those who work, keep doing the work,” she wrote.

Political commentator Abhinav Prakash posted a list that says 14 AIIMS were announced by PM Modi, out of which 11 are functional. His post drew over 8,000 likes and more than 3,400 retweets.

A post by Facebook page ‘PMO India : Report Card’ drew 2,100 shares and over 5,000 likes.

The post is widespread on Facebook. Alt News has also received verification requests on its WhatsApp helping number (+91 76000 11160).

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BJP supporters Arun Pudur and @Sootradhar also shared the list. “During his 10 years of subservient post of PM. Manmohan singh just managed to open 1 AIIMS that too in Italian Mata’s Constituency,” wrote Pudur.

Other handles that raised hundreds of likes and retweets for the claim were Abhishek Dwivedi (@Rezang_La), @SaffronTommy and @beingGavy. @SaffronTommy wrote that the Modi government has set up 14 AIIMS in the country while the Manmohan Singh government had established one.

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It is also widespread on Facebook.

A new pro-Modi Facebook page Marketing Motivation’s post drew over 800 likes.

3 more AIIMS (AIIMS Madurai, AIIMS Darbhanga and AIIMS Manethi) are under development…

Posted by Marketing Motivation on Thursday, 22 April 2021

Misleading claim

The first AIIMS was set up in the country in 1956 under the leadership of the country’s first health minister Amrit Kaur. Since then, six new AIIMS have been made functional.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government had announced the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) in 2003 with the objectives of “correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.”

In his independence day speech in 2003, the former PM announced that under PMSSY “six new hospitals with modern facilities, like those available at AIIMS in Delhi, will be established in backward states in the next three years.” But Vajpayee’s government went out of power nine months after making the announcement.

The six hospitals were established under the UPA rule. A report The New Indian Express published in 2011 states, “The NDA government merely treated this initiative as election-oriented, and went ahead with a usual spree of laying foundation stones between October 2003 and March 2004 without even transferring land properly.”

“After the UPA came to power, approval of the Union Cabinet came in March 2006,” continues the report, adding, “It took six years for real work to start—in 2009—when the Government got the clearances and DPRs. Contractors were selected and awarded work only in June 2010”.

These six new AIIMS, under Phase-I of PMSSY, were set up in Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur, and Rishikesh. The website of PMSSY states that regular MBBS batches started in these AIIMS in 2012 while Regular Nursing Courses started in 2013.

It is noteworthy that the institutes were developed in a phased manner, with work done under both UPA and NDA governments. For instance, Medical College and Out Patient Department (OPD) services were started in AIIMS Bhopal in 2013 while In-Patient Departement (IPD) and private wards were inaugurated in 2014 and 2017 respectively. A CAG report in 2019 said that infrastructural development is still pending in these new AIIMS which are yet to become fully functional “as an institute of national importance as AIIMS, Delhi”.

All the six AIIMS that the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is being credited for in the viral list were therefore established under the Congress government.

Answering questions on the status of AIIMS institutes in the country, minister of state in the ministry of health of family welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey had said last year, “22 AIIMS have been announced/ sanctioned to be set up under PMSSY” out of which, six (06) AIIMS i.e. Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh are functional. Other 16 AIIMS are in various stages of their construction.”

Out of the 16 AIIMS, the one in Rae Bareli was approved in 2009 by the Manmohan Singh government under Phase-II of PMSSY. According to The Indian Express, “A decade after getting clearance from the central government, the out-patient department (OPD) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rae Bareli began” in August 2018.

The 15 other AIIMS were announced by PM Modi, some of which have partially begun a few services including out-patient department and medical colleges.

The viral list therefore paints a misleading picture. To date, seven AIIMS are fully functioning. This includes AIIMS Delhi. The six new AIIMS were announced by the BJP government but established under the Congress government. AIIMS Rae Bareli was also established under the Congress governemnt but its OPD services were started during BJP’s tenure. The 15 other AIIMS were announced by the BJP government but they are either partially functional or under construction.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.