Study recommends outsourcing CPWD functions to private agencies

A study commissioned by the central government has recommended “gradual outsourcing” of “maintenance functions” of the CPWD to reputed private agencies for “improving user services, establishing benchmarks and image improvement”.

The recommendation was among a set of measures suggested by Ernst & Young in its report on “Working and Reorganisation of CPWD for Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness”, presented to Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Narendra Singh Tomar here on Thursday.

The report stressed the need to redefine the focus of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), so as to promote its competency in the core area of construction, for which maintenance of residential properties needs to be outsourced.

The ministry has decided to ask the CPWD to initiate outsourcing maintenance functions in select areas of Delhi to begin with, following which “a roadmap will be evolved to implement other recommendations after detailed examination”.

The report noted that more than 50 per cent of the CPWD’s total strength of 21,806 personnel was currently engaged in maintenance works, which accounted for only 20 per cent of its turnover by value.

While suggesting that the 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, with transparency and accountability.

“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,” an official said.

“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 has been recommended for effective monitoring and resource utilisation,” the official said.

Since a large component of projects undertaken by the CPWD is 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.

Among other recommendations are proper integration of different wings of the CPWD, like civil, electrical, horticultural and architecture cadres, under common command.

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

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