SRINAGAR: Academics at the Government Medical College (GMC) have slipped into an ad hoc mode because of administrative inertia.
Currently, 125 faculty positions are vacant in the GMC and promotions of 70 are stuck in the red tape, leading to what is called as ‘Academic Arrangement Basis’.
Under this arrangement if a lecturer, for example, has been promoted to the post of an assistant professor, he holds both positions because a committee that will vet his promotion is yet to sit and look into his/her elevation.
As many as 33 lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors and professors are working on the AAB. In the department of surgery, out of six posts, four straddling between two positions; in Bone and Joint Hospital, six out of nine lecturers are working on AAB and two out of four doctors in ophthalmology department sail in the same boat.
The department of Forensic Medicine and Science of Preventive Medicine has professors working on the AAB.
GMC officials said that a list of vacancies is sent to the health and medical education department, which is supposed to forward it to the Public Service Commission for filling the posts. The PSC takes as long as the government can stretch it.
Another reason for the ad hocism is that the departmental promotion committees, which clear faculty members for promotions after scrutinizing their academic records, have not been constituted for the past one year.
Many departments at the GMC faced de-recognition by the Medical Council of India because of such loose academic strength. Therefore, in 2015, 27 faculty members were engaged on AAB. The MCI had also decided to reduce the number of MBBS seats at the GMC for the same reason, but fortunately the college was spared the axe.
The process of appointing doctors on AAB started in 2009 when the PSC was dysfunctional. To overcome the shortage of faculty members, the government came out with the SRO 384, which empowers it to post doctors on AAB for a maximum period of six years.
Additional secretary health and medical education Ashraf Hakak said, “We have referred some of the posts to the PSC but they are yet to be advertised and as far the promotion is concerned it will take some time because we scrutinise them properly before the committee takes a call.”