A strong demand was raised in the General Council meeting to shift the Mumbai Regional Centre of National Institute for Mentally Handicapped to Nagpur. The Nagpur Centre could prove a boon for thousands of people as the city is at the center of the country geographically. Secondly, Nagpur or Vidarbha region has been surrounded by neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and some districts of Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, the areas mainly consist of backward class people. The number of mentally weeklong people, who are mostly very poor, is in thousands.
The National Institute for Mentally Handicapped (NIMH), based in Secunderabad in Andhra Pradesh, is the only Institute in the country in which the study, research, and treatment are carried out at the same time and at the same place. However, ironically the Institute could have turned the only prestigious institute of its kind in the world had the Central Government taken the required steps in that direction seriously and determinedly.
The National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, run by Union Social Justice and Cooperation Ministry, held the crucial meeting of the Institute’s Annual General Council last month. The meeting was presided over by the Chairperson of the Institute Stuti Kacker, IAS. Stuti Kacker put up some proposals like setting up of NIMH’s Regional Centre in Nagpur, providing Wi-Fi facilities to students studying in the NIMH, filling up of vacant posts and other related issues.
The Institute was started in 1984 with only one course. Today, the NIMH is running 10 courses apart from research and treatment. However, in today’s position the building and rooms are too small and looking into this aspect, the Andhra Pradesh Government should provide at least 100 acres of land at Government rates to the NIMH by carving out a strategy for the coming 25 years. The meeting stressed upon availability of latest technology for research and treatment that would make the NIMH on par with any international institute. The meeting lamented barring of courses like BMR and Bachelor of Mentally Rehabilitation and urged the Government to start these courses afresh. Similarly, the local universities barred three courses out of 13 for want of proper facilities till 2013. Stuti Kacker, taking serious note of all these aspects, directed members and concerned authorities to submit detailed reports in this regard.
A member of the General Council of National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, informed the meeting his discussions with the Institute’s students, specifically the scholar-holders, he was apprised by the students of many problems they face day-to-day. The students said they have been provided with only only 3-4 Internet connections which are totally insufficient. The students demanded wi-fi facility in the computer room that would resolve their problems in this direction.
Another important revealed in the meeting was shortage of staff from management-level to technical teachers and professors. There is bar on recruitment of any staff since 2004. The result was very disappointing as the proposal to turn the NIMH into a deemed university was rejected by the Government citing the same reason of shortage of staff. Moreover, the guest professors and the un-regular teachers who visit the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped have not been paid honorary amount of even after many considering their high-standard qualities of education. This aspect is also hitting education of the students hard. Therefore, the General Council meeting urged the Government to either recruit regular teachers or regularize the cantract teachers which would encourage them to contribute their might fully towards education direction. Most importantly, the teachers should paid adequate salaries after considering today’s situation. The meeting warned that if the present state of affairs continue for longer period the day is not far away no students turning up for studies in the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, and, subsequently, the courses had to be buried in the graveyards.
The most crucial part of the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped’s state of affairs is the Regional Centre in Mumbai. The Centre has been run from a rented building since past many years. And the cost of purchasing land and then constructing a building of its own would be enormous. The number of beneficiaries, too, is very small. After keeping in mind the not-so beneficial Mumbai Centre, a strong demand was raised in the meeting to shift the Mumbai Regional Centre of National Institute for Mentally Handicapped to Nagpur. The Nagpur Centre could prove a boon for thousands of people as the city is at the center of the country geographically. Secondly, Nagpur or Vidarbha region has been surrounded by neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and some districts of Andhra Pradesh. Moreover, the areas mainly consist of backward class people. The number of mentally weeklong people, who are mostly very poor, is in the thousands. The opening or shifting of Mumbai Centre to Nagpur will help the people immensely in almost on all fronts. The Guardian Minister Shivajirao Moghe had apprised the Union Social Justice and Cooperation Ministry in this regard.
The General Council meeting of NIMH also delved into the aspect of natural and man-made tragedies, too, like fire. The aim of discussing the aspect was to digitalise all the documents of the Institute that will ensure safety of all records.
The most and foremost aspect concerns to the National Institute for Mentally Handicapped itself. The Institute has carried out 63 researches but absolutely no research on mentally handicapped. The National Institute for Mentally Handicapped stressed upon curbing the number of mentally weeklong by a genetic research. The Union Social Justice and Cooperation Ministry must initiate necessary measures in this regard.
According to reports, almost all members maintain a radio silence and care a hoot a few members who raise crucial issues and discuss them in the meeting.