The Government think-tank NITI Aayog and Quality Council of India (QCI) on Wednesday launched the ‘National Programme and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF), envisaged to bring radical reforms in the way infrastructure projects are executed in India.
Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways & Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Nitin Gadkari unveiled the Indian Infrastructure Body of Knowledge (InBoK), a book on the practice of programme and project management in India, and launched the framework, along with Union Minister Piyush Goyal, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and QCI Chairman Adil Zainulbhai. Dignitaries from across the government, infrastructure sector, global project management companies, large contracting firms such as L&T India, public sector enterprises (PSEs), global and Indian development banks, etc., were also in attendance.
Lauding the initiative, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “NPMPF will help in realising the Prime Minister’s vision of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by building a stronger India, in which we would need good quality infrastructure; we would need to reduce costs and waste material, without compromising on the environment and ecology. We also need to ensure time-bound and result-oriented delivery of projects.”
Recognising the significance of programme and project management tools and techniques for megaprojects like Bharatmala and Sagarmala, which are already in use, he added, “The use and adoption of such techniques and practices to incorporate innovative financing with hybrid annuity models are already underway.”
The minister also stressed accountability, monitoring, transparency and a corruption-free system, along with a fast-track decision-making process. “We need to find out ground reality problems, work on technical and financial qualifications, and ensure performance audit.”
Gadkari appreciated the importance of InBoK to serve as a common reference for all practitioners of the industry.
Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Affairs Piyush Goyal touched upon the importance of infrastructure building for national development and improving the quality of life.
“With the Indian Railways adopting landmark reforms, and mega projects in the pipeline and investment worth Rs 5 trillion and more by 2030, this initiative is most opportune to bring about more transparency in procurement, enabling public-private partnerships (PPPs) through appropriate risk-sharing and establishing robust project governance,” said Goyal.
He also underscored that capable and certified professionals with an in-depth understanding of InBok would enable a transformation of the infrastructure landscape of India.
“Monitoring and accountability will determine the fate and success of the project,” he added.
Adoption of Programme and Project Management Practices Imperative
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant led the inaugural address, emphasising the significance of challenges to infrastructure in India and the importance of programme and project management in addressing those. He stressed that the adoption of these practices will help achieve economic objectives through the coordination of multiple projects.
India will require an investment of around $4.5 trillion by 2040 to develop the infrastructure for sustaining its economic growth. However, the challenges in infrastructure development that often obstruct the smooth execution of projects can be a detriment. Therefore, along with numerous initiatives by the government and guidelines advocated by NITI Aayog towards improving the performance of infrastructure projects, a task force was also constituted to lay down a national programme and project management policy framework.
This framework aims to formulate radical reforms in the way large and mega infrastructure projects are managed in India, with an action plan to adopt a programme and project management approach to infra development, institutionalise and promote the profession of programme and project management and build a workforce of such professionals, and enhance institutional capacity and capability of professionals.
Zainulbhai presented the closing remarks with a vote of thanks to all the guests and gave a few details of the framework developed. He explained that the certification system under the framework links the scale and complexity of projects to the competence of professionals. A self-paced learning system, rigorous and comprehensive exam at each level with continued professional development would serve as pillars of the framework.
In the future, InBoK is envisioned to have extensions, which will be specific to each domain or industry for infrastructure, for example, a dedicated extension for roadways that captures issues and best practices specific to that sector.
To ensure this initiative maintains its momentum and makes an impact on projects being planned and implemented currently, a capability development programme to create awareness around programme and project management, as well as to provide capsule training for mission-critical projects, is imperative to increase the uptake and adoption of the practice.