Outsource CPWD’s maintenance functions to develop core competency: E&Y

According to a recent study commissioned  by the government, there is a need to redefine the focus of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) in order to promote its core competency in the area of construction.

To achieve this, maintenance of residential  properties needs to be outsourced, said Ernst & Young, the agency contracted by the government to conduct the study.

In its report titled ‘Working and Reogranisation of CPWD for Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness’ presented to the Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday, E&Y said that there was need for gradual outsourcing of ‘maintenance functions’ of the construction major to reputed private agencies for improving user services, establishing benchmarks and image improvement.

Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary (HUA), then discussed the recommendations with Tomar, after which it was decided that CPWD will initiate action to outsource maintenance functions in select areas of Delhi to begin with. A road map will be evolved to implement other recommendations after detailed examination.

These recommendations have been made in the context of over 50 percent of work implemented by CPWD getting delayed, lower levels of satisfaction over maintenance services, 70 percent of projects being of less than Rs 5 crore in value each, and 47 percent of total staff located in the Delhi region.

The recommendation to outsource maintenance work was among a set of measures suggested  by the consultancy. It noted that more than 50 percent of the total strength of CPWD of 21,806 personnel are currently engaged in maintenance work, which accounts for only 20 per cent of its turnover by value.

While suggesting that CPWD could continue as an attached office of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, the report advocated radical reorganisation of business processes and decision making systems for ensuring completion of projects in time, transparency, accountability, ease of working, better coordination, etc.

In place of the present 8 levels of processing and decision making, 2-3 layers have been suggested by categorizing projects into small, medium and large.

As against the present practice of selecting the Director General of CPWD based on seniority, it has been recommended that DG be chosen from a panel of senior officers. Extensive use of technology in the form of integrated IT-based ‘Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)’ system has also been recommended for effective monitoring and resource utilisation.

Since a large component of projects undertaken by CPWD are commissioned by various ministries and other agencies of the Government, the report has suggested clear definition of obligation of such agencies like ensuring encumbrance-free land, approvals, etc.

Proper integration of different wings of CPWD like civil, electrical, horticultural and architecture cadres under common command is among the other recommendations.

The ministry had commissioned Ernst & Young in May this year to study the functioning of CPWD for suggesting measures for improvements.

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