The Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Tuesday criticised the government for a five-year delay in setting up six All India Institutes of Medical Sciences under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana. The six new institutes were to be set up between August 2011 and July 2013.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in its report “Performance Audit on Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana” filed before Parliament on Tuesday, said deficient project and contract management, administrative laxity and weak monitoring were responsible for the delay, PTI reported. The authority said the lapses have increased the cost of setting up the institutes by Rs 140.28 crore, including Rs 39.96 crore of excess payments to contractors.

The performance audit, which covered the period from 2003 to 2017, said several departments out of the 42 sanctioned in the new AIIMS were not yet functional. It added that there were shortages of beds in the hospitals ranging between 43% and 84%, shortages of teaching staff between 55% to 83% and of non-teaching staff between 77% and 97%.

The report also said that only eight out of the 19 government medical colleges and institutions selected for audit had been upgraded.

There is also shortage of manpower required to run new facilities and departments in these colleges, and 19 out of 41 facilities have not been upgraded, the Comptroller and Auditor General said. The authority suggested that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare frame operational guidelines to regulate the implementation of the scheme and complete the pending work quickly.

The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana was announced in 2003 to improve the quality of medical education in India and correct imbalances in availability of tertiary health services in the country. Apart from setting up AIIMS, the scheme envisioned upgrading of existing state government medical colleges.