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    AIIMS considers involving government agency and PSU in the procurement of medical equipment

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    AIIMS, the premier medical institute in India, has formed a committee to explore the possibility of engaging a government agency or PSU for procurement of medical equipment. The aim is to expedite procurement and free up staff, including faculty members, from procurement-related activities. The ten-member committee will examine the benefits and modalities of engaging a government agency or PSU as a procurement support agency. This move comes after AIIMS Director Dr M Srinivas observed that stores and procurement are usually handled by the same personnel, which is not in line with good governance practices. He further noted that outsourced staff is often handling procurement, which is not appropriate. The store cadre is limited in strength, leading to frequent unmet demand for stores and procurement personnel from various Centres and Departments. In many areas, as an interim arrangement, procurement work is being handled by administrative cadre staff who are not formally trained in procurement matters. There are no biomedical engineers or similar technical staff in the store cadre to support the procurement of complex medical equipment in line with the current best practices globally. This shortage of technical and trained personnel has led to clinical faculty spending a lot of time in procurement-related activities, affecting their time available for patient care, teaching, and research. The administration was also informed that in certain cases, procurements have been pending for two years due to a shortage of procurement resources in some departments and stores. The memorandum suggests that engaging a PSA can help expedite procurements as they shall be contractually bound by strict timelines and shall also improve core storekeeping functions by freeing the existing staff from procurement-related activities. As the PSA shall have the database of procurement of medical equipment from across the country, this shall help in quicker finalisation of specifications and better benchmarking of prices, which can result in higher efficiency and better prudence in procurement.

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    Rajesh M
    Rajesh M
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