- The Andhra Pradesh Medical Education and Research Corporation (APMERC) Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on May 20, 2021. The Bill provides for: (i) the establishment of APMERC for revitalising tertiary hospitals and health care services, (ii) strengthening of the existing medical institutions, and (iii) construction of new hospitals and medical colleges. Key features of the Bill are:
- Andhra Pradesh Medical Education and Research Corporation (APMERC): APMERC will be set up as a public limited company under the Companies Act, 2013. The shareholding pattern of APMERC will be notified by the state government. All movable and immovable assets and liabilities of the specified hospitals, medical colleges and attached institutions under the control of the Director of Medical Education will be transferred to APMERC. All disputes related to the assets or liabilities transferred to APMERC will be referred to the state government. The decision of the government on such disputes will be final.
- Objectives of APMERC include: (i) raising funds for providing world-class health education and research, (ii) enabling the strengthening of medical institutions, multi-speciality hospitals in tribal areas, and (iii) upgrading necessary infrastructure and constructing new medical colleges, nursing colleges, multi-speciality and super speciality hospitals for achieving sustainable development goals.
- The state government may dissolve APMERC if the purposes for which it has been established are substantially achieved.
- Functions and Powers of APMERC: The functions of APMERC will include: (i) ensuring improved accessibility of tertiary care facilities, (ii) ensuring skilled human resources in the health sector, (iii) preparing the annual budget for the hospitals under its control, (iv) raising money from capital markets, borrowings from banks and financial institutions, and (v) ensuring the implementation of healthcare programs.
- Further, APMERC will have the power to enter into agreements for programme funding and engage with financial advisors, investment bankers, legal advisors and other professionals for fundraising.
- Board for managing APMERC: APMERC will be managed by a Board. The Board will consist of eight members, including: (i) the Special Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary of Health Medical and Family Welfare Department (as the Chairperson), (ii) an official appointed by the government (as the Vice-Chairperson and Managing Director), and (iii) six other state government officials (such as Secretary to Finance Department) as Directors.
- Fund of APMERC: APMERC will maintain its own fund. It will include: (i) grants and loans from the government, (ii) fees, charges and costs received by APMERC, and (iii) funds generated from the disposal of lands and other properties.
- Default in the performance of duty: If APMERC defaults on any assigned duty, the state government may fix a time period for the performance of that duty. If APMERC fails to perform the duty within the specified time period, the state government may supersede and reconstitute APMERC. In case of supersession and reconstitution, all duties and powers of APMERC will be performed by the government till it is reconstituted.
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