(Editor’s note: The story was first published in April 2021 and is being republished from The Quint’s archive in light of the recent claims about there being 22 AIIMS in India in 2023. Only six AIIMS were functional as of February 2022. While a total of 22 were approved by the government since 2014, 16 are yet to be completed.)
A viral infograph claims that maximum number of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were built under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, followed by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and that only one was built under the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh.
While it is true that PM Modi announced setting up of 15 AIIMS, Vajpayee announced six and Singh announced one, the viral infograph shows a misleading picture as it does not factor in the governments who helped setting up those institutes.
For instance, Vajpayee announced six AIIMS but they were established under the UPA government in 2012 and the work on some of those continued post 2014 when the government changed. The one AIIMS announced under the UPA government is still not fully-functional and of the 15 AIIMS that were announced by PM Modi, several remain under various stages of construction.
SOCIAL MEDIA USERS SHARE INFOGRAPH ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
Former Road Construction Minister in the Bihar government Nand Kishore Yadav shared the infograph that showed the number of years a prime minister was in power and the number of AIIMS built by them.
It mentioned that Jawaharlal Nehru built one AIIMS, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi didn’t build any, Vajpayee built six, Singh built one and Modi built 15.
Some social media users like one Arun Pudur also shared a table to show which AIIMS institute was announced by which government, when was it established and its status. The claim saw its widespread presence on Facebook and Twitter and the archived posts can be viewed here, here, and here.
THE FIRST AIIMS WAS SET UP IN 1956
In 1956, the then Health Minister Rajkumari Amrit Kaur under the Jawaharlal Nehru government set up the first AIIMS in the country.
The setting up of other AIIMS has been divided into different phases with the first phase being announced by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003 during his Independence Day speech.
The text of his speech, available in PMO archives, mentioned that he announced the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) scheme under which “six new hospitals with modern facilities, like those available at AIIMS in Delhi, will be established in backward States in the next three years.”
He had then acknowledged that people in the under-developed states suffered due to the lack of good hospital services and hence he initiated the PMSSY scheme.
However, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government was voted out of power nine months after he made the announcement.
SIX AIIMS ANNOUNCED BY VAJPAYEE, ESTABLISHED UNDER MANMOHAN SINGH
The first phase comprised six AIIMS in the cities of Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur, and Rishikesh.
As per a Rajya Sabha answer given in February 2020 that is available on the Press Information Bureau (PIB), these six AIIMS became partially functional before 2014 with MBBS and nursing admission having started in 2012.
Clearly, while the six AIIMS were announced by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003, they were established by the UPA government in 2012.
A Lok Sabha answer dated 14 December 2012 detailed the progress of the six AIIMS institutes in the country.
After 2014, the NDA government continued the work. The Rajya Sabha reply mentioned that several services in these six institutes were expanded under NDA’s rule.
STATUS OF 15 AIIMS ANNOUNCED BY PM MODI
As per a Lok Sabha reply given in September 2020, a total of 22 AIIMS have been announced/sanctioned to be established under the PMSSY. (6 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure + 1 during Manmohan Singh’s tenure + 15 during Narendra Modi’s tenure)
Out of the ones announced under the PMSSY, six AIIMS that were set up in the first phase are functional, remaining 16 AIIMS are at different stages of construction.
This means the country has seven functional AIIMS that include the AIIMS that was set up in 1956 and the remaining six ones set up under PMSSY.
The reply gave a detailed list of the status update of the remaining 16 AIIMS institutes, out of which, 15 were sanctioned by the BJP-led NDA government under PMSSY and AIIMS Raebareli was approved by the UPA government in 2009.
A status update of 22 AIIMS is also available on the PMSSY website that showed that some of the remaining 16 AIIMS institutes have started a few services.
Regarding AIIMS Raebareli, its official website mentioned that it was approved in 2009 under the second phase of PMSSY. Congress President Sonia Gandhi had laid its foundation stone in 2013 after which the construction of the building had begun, news agency PTI had reported then.
As per an Indian Express article from 2018, the institute had begun services in its out-patient department (OPD).