E-Gov: CPWD makes big digital payments push, ushers in a new era

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Updated: November 2, 2017 3:22:07 AM

Winds of change are blowing across Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the central government owned authority in charge of public sector works.

E-Gov, CPWD, big digital payments push, big digital payments, digital payments push, ushers in a new era, major digital transformationWinds of change are blowing across Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the central government owned authority in charge of public sector works.

Winds of change are blowing across Central Public Works Department (CPWD), the central government owned authority in charge of public sector works. The agency has undergone a major digital transformation enabling payments worth Rs 20,000 crore per year electronically. This has been done by networking all the 400 field offices of CPWD across the country through a special integrated portal ensuring digital payments from this month. With this, CPWD has become the first organisation of a civil ministry to become digital at the field level. CPWD executes over 25,000 project works across the country involving annual payments of over Rs 20,000 crore every year by its 400 field offices. The new digital payment mode covers over six lakh transactions. The office of chief controller of accounts (CCA) of the ministry of housing and urban affairs has evolved this special public financial management (PFMS) portal for CPWD. The online payment system enables real time monitoring of expenditure in respect of each of the 25,000 projects across the country. Since fund release is linked to progress of works, digital payments also ensure efficient utilisation of funds. In yet another initiative, electronic measurement book (e-MB) has also been developed for CPWD that enables reporting of progress of works online as per the schedule of agreement with contractors based on which payments will be made. e-MB has been made mandatory from the first of next month doing away with manual reporting by all the 400 field offices.

PFMS is an end-to-end solution for electronic processing payments, tracking fund flow, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting, etc. It has been adopted by the ministry of housing and urban affairs since October, 2015 by which the allocation of `34,000 crore has been transferred electronically. With CPWD now going digital, the volume of e-payments of the ministry and CPWD would be about Rs 60,000 crore during 2017-18. Since CPWD has a separate scheme of delegation of functions and financial powers, it required a special PFMS e-module for online transactions.

Meanwhile, a study commissioned by the government has recommended gradual outsourcing of ‘maintenance functions’ of CPWD to reputed private agencies for improving user services, establishing benchmarks and image improvement. This 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 the minister of housing and urban affairs 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% of CPWD’s 21,806 personnel are currently engaged in maintenance works which account for only 20% of its turnover by value. 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.

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