Report suggests gradual outsourcing of maintenance functions of CPWD

A study commissioned by the government has recommended gradual outsourcing of 'maintenance functions' of the government's construction arm, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), to private agencies.

The report prepared by Ernst & Young on reorganisation of CPWD submitted to minister of housing and urban affairs has suggested that reputed private agencies be engaged for improving user services, establishing benchmarks and image improvement.

This significant recommendation is among a set of measures suggested by E&Y in its report on 'Working and Reogranisation of CPWD for Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness' presented to the HUA Narendra Singh Tomar.

The report stressed on the need to redefine the focus of CPWD so as to promote its competency in the core area of construction for which maintenance of residential properties need to be outsourced. It was noted that more than 50 per cent of the total strength of CPWD of 21,806 personnel are currently engaged in maintenance works, which account 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 and 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 eight levels of processing and decision making, two to three layers have been suggested by categorising projects into small, medium and large.

As against present mode of selection of 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 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.

These recommendations have been made in the context of over 50 per cent of works being implemented by CPWD getting delayed, lower levels of satisfaction over maintenance services, 70 per cent of projects being of less than Rs5.00 cr value each, 47 per cent of total staff located in Delhi region etc.

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