Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why not AIIMS-like institute in Assam / North East ?

There are several Assamese doctors working in AIIMS and several other premier medical institutions of the country. An AIIMS-like institution can definitely be established in the North East. It can be modeled somewhat like the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, which was opened by the alumni of Ivy League b-schools of the US.

The initiative is not likely to come from the government, since as you have rightly observed, the Chief Minister is in a deep slumber.

Here are, I believe, some of the threats that entrepreneurs are likely to perceive before starting such a venture: security, infrastructure, profitability (since the region lags behind economically than, say, Delhi or Mumbai, in spite of the abundance of natural resources), etc..

Security is something that the government can provide, unless they hire a Blackwater-like company to outsource their security requirements. As for infrastructure, we can try attracting construction companies such as DLF, or hospital chains such as Fortis. Tagging on to these big names is definitely hard, but at least they might be interested if we show them the money!

As for the money and profitability, I feel that we need to base it on a bottom-of-the- pyramid model. C K Prahalad had broken the misconception that there is no profitability in serving the poor. As he rightly observed, the bottom-of-the- pyramid model turned out to be profitable to MNCs such as Unilever and Proctor & Gamble, and domestic companies such as Amul and Annapurna. The same model had been applied in eye-care by Sankardev Netralaya, which has branches in Assam. Such a model can be extended to holistic healthcare.

However poor one a patient, s/he would always require medical services unless the costs are prohibitive enough that s/he chooses death over paying up! Here we are looking at economies of scale. Hence, greater the number of products, or in our case services, greater is the profit without making the costs prohibitive. a simple look at the population in the NOrth Eastern region would tell you that there is no dearth of patients (potential consumers) in the region.

Of course, there are many obstacles but we cannot keep looking towards a lame state government to satisfy every need that we have. If the region wants to develop itself economically, we need to CREATE jobs, not ask the government for it. We need more entrepreneurs to start off new ventures in the region. The only help we need from the government is to LET US do all this, and not mire us in red-tape.

Best regards,

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