INDIA – BHARAT : INFRASTRUCTURE–BUILT ENVIRONMENT–CHALLENGES–CAUSES & REMEDIES : ER. SURYA PARKASH

INDIA – BHARAT

INFRASTRUCTURE – BUILT ENVIRONMENT – CHALLENGES – CAUSES & REMEDIES

AUTHOR:-

Er. P. Surya Prakash

IEI Council Member (Elect), Mentor-Smart Infr-EST, Past President ACCEI, Founding President PSI, MD, SVPCPL, Hyderabad, 9393348484 

 

India is the fastest-growing economy with the 2nd Highest population.

Indian government taking up many development projects such as Housing for All by 2022, Water supply to Rural and Urban areas, Education infrastructure, Urban Transport, Highways, Rural Road Connectivity, Defense – Border Connectivity, Irrigation, Power, etc.

In addition, Real Estate thro’ Regulation – RERA, spending Millions of Crores of Rupees every year. Challenge is How Much of it is Effective in terms of

  • Fund Utilization
  • Fund Deployment
  • Achieving the Objective
  • Achieving the desired Quality
  • Functional Performance
  • Procurement
  • Timely Delivery – Escalations

We have umpteen reports by the erstwhile planning commission, CAG on failures in Fund utilization & Fund deployment, and effective spending. Construction spending is the second biggest GDP growth driver in the economy. But Many Challenges are persisting listed or unlisted in this note.

The causes are –

Institutional Mechanism by-passed: The Project planning and implementation shall be the responsibility of the Engineering departments in all the sectors. We have seen success in many areas where Metro Rail implementation was successful because of the Honest and right implementation process devised and developed by Er. E. Sreedharan. Highway Project planned and implemented in early 21st century as Golden Quadrilateral in a record time of 4 years. But we are seeing many irrigation projects with few exceptions being delayed beyond imagination like 15 years to 20 years. Housing projects for the poor being implemented for the last 3 decades but the Poor still living in pathetic conditions. Urban infrastructure in a bad state – Roads, Drainage, Waste management, Water supply, Traffic, Built Environment – None of them are incomparable to any of the smaller economies even. Rural water supply, in spite of spending 80,000 Cr., In 5 years, with the objective of reaching out to 35% of the population, could only reach to 5% after spending 95% of the funds.

The causes are – Planning, Procurement & Implementation shall be the sole responsibility of the Engineering departments. They should also be made accountable. Over the last two decades, the process has been diluted and most of the decisions are taken by Political establishments and Procurement norms are frequently amended by Cabinet decisions. Many Projects’ NITs are called even without proper DPR or Technical sanctions. This resulted in Litigation and projects becoming non-starters.

EPC procurement method is mostly misused when FRD and Project outcomes are not defined properly. These have resulted in impractical Internal Benchmarks, ambiguous Functional Requirements, No standard technical specifications, mismatch or tailor-made eligibility criteria, etc.

In the case of Housing for the poor, the reach of the policy is not even effective for  10%, until the recent Housing For all policy. The end-user also is made stake holder with affordable participation. But even such good policies could end up in failure, unless a robust procurement policy with accountable implementing agencies is made, without political interference.

Even in the case of Real Estate after well thought over the policy of RERA, the effective implementation paradigm is yet to be seen. Many gaps unless a strong Professional Engineer is made to be accountable for all the Standard Operating processes in Real Estate Development. Such as Project Conceiving, Feasibility reports, Project specifications, and Project management including the facility management for five years. But this is not followed in 80% of the developments and Builders lobby influencing the governments to dilute the spirit of RERA.

Uniform Building Bye-laws: GOI has issued UBBL by amending the NBC in 2016. But, again in the name of Citizen friendly approach or ease of doing business, The governments have bypassed – Engineering, planning or Supervision and fixing accountability in the name of simplifying the process. The smaller constructions in Rural areas, Towns, and districts contribute to 70% of construction activity and if this is not regulated, Safety, Quality and effective use of Construction material resources will be in Question.

Effective inter Professional roles & Responsibilities: There are 100s of litigations in the High courts between COA and other professionals until the recent Supreme Court Judgement on 17th March 2020 clarifying the Architects Act ’72 and its intent. The act has been misinterpreted and misrepresented by the lobby over 4+ decades which has resulted in demotivating the engineering professionals and bringing the engineering profession to an insignificant state, which has resulted in unutilized technical talent. Many government departments and ULBs are unaware of this factual position and still call NITs qualifying only Architects whose competence is limited in Project delivery. Because 90% of project planning and implementation involves engineering disciplines and 70% of it is civil engineering in any of the built environment projects. There is an immediate need to correct the anomaly.

Engineers Act: Probably India is the only country among few, which has not enacted and recognized the engineering profession. Presently Government appointed AICTE as a nodal agency and appointed a committee without any representation from the industry. Once Bill has enacted the respective Institutions and Associations Like (IEI, ACCEI, IAStructE, CEAI, (Electrical, Fire, Plumbing, HVAC) Etc.) to be made responsible for implementing according to Professional Engineer status and this shall also be applicable to all the Government Department/PSU/Undertakings engineers to have PE registration with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accountable by appointing Board of Chief Engineers in every state and Central Government as the Body to take all decisions.

Remedies:

 1. Engineers ACT 2020 to be expedited by enacting the Draft IPEC Bill

 2. Architects Act to be on Status Quo

3. UBBL to have Building Inspectorate making Engineers Accountable for safety and Economy

4. All Government projects implementation shall be through Departments and Board of Chief Engineers at State and Central Government, PSUs, Government Undertaking.

5. Continuing Professional Development to be made compulsory for all engineers.

6. Skill development & CPD for Engineers to be brought under CSR

7. RERA to have Engineers or PEs accountable for all the compliances.

8. Government departments, PSU & Undertakings to strictly implement NITs calling for Consultants and not just Architects. Uniform Procurement norms for Consultants are to be made mandatory by implementing a Subjective QCBS system, Author can elaborate on this.

9. All educational institutions to engage Adjunct faculty and to be strictly monitored for quality and responsible engineers. Presently 80% of Engineers who graduated are not employable.

10. Any project implementation involving construction or construction materials of value more than INR 10 Lacs to be planned, supervised, monitored, and certified by Professional engineers.

Engineers Groups Message to all engineers in India to join together.

All are born to perform a duty to mankind.

A few chose to work for providing basic facilities and infrastructure for civilization. House, water, Irrigation, Industry, Power, Transport, Environment, Urbanization, Communication, and many more.

Engineering is a dream for everyone.

Engineering demands Originality, Intelligence, Innovation, Focus, Passion.

Civil Engineers Work for Civilians’ needs.

But Today for these most important and deserving people who are dedicated to working are the following challenges.

1. Misinterpretation and misuse of Architect Act- Result is 100s of litigations by COA in last 4+ decades. Now Supreme Court closed the curtains by clarifying the Act and intent and confirming the exploitation thro’ judgment date 17th March 2020. But humongous damage is done in the 48 years by demotivating Civil engineers. Now is the time to join together to grab our rights by standing united to earn our rightful dignity, respect by deserving, demanding our share of 90% of the service cost of the built environment.

2. Engineers or engineering professions aren’t defined or recognized by our Indian constitution even after 74 years of independence. We have to highlight to lawmakers the importance of the enactment of the engineers’ bill.

This is in the interest of society at the large and the built environment in particular.

3. Every micro small or medium construction needs to be planned and supervised by engineers in the interest of safety and conservation of natural resources. 

Bye-law not insisting on the engineering process shall be questioned and amended in the interest of public safety and protecting depleting natural resources.

Every ULB, DTCP should be made aware by vociferous representation by engineers.

4. Every constructed facility needs to be as per Standards and planned as per National Building Code which can be implemented and enforced by engineers. Hence engineers only have to lead the project. Every administrator Implementing the Engineering department should be enlightened about this and write Clarifying letters.

5. Engineers to Unite –Academicians and researchers to educate and create great engineers and engineering for future generations.

-all Engineering department engineers at the state and central government to take engineers and engineering to the pinnacle. 

-all engineers practicing Engineering and working for engineering to command the respect and deserving social status. 

– engineers in lawmakers to help achieve these objectives 

-engineer entrepreneurs developers, builders, industrialists to protect engineers and the engineering process. 

– engineers in administration to order & implement rules that are important to constructed facilities 

-India has 1000+ associations with membership ranging from 200 to 80,000 with many intersecting objectives and members with the common objective of welfare of engineers and engineering. 

While their independence and freedom are appreciated, the immediate importance to join together and working together to strengthen the engineering profession and enhance employment opportunities and employability of both fresh and experienced engineers is highlighted. 

-it’s time to gain this momentum using technology by meeting periodically to discuss deliberate decisions and implement to enhance our position. 

Action.

1. Unite all engineers and engineering associations- Connect

2. Have a weekly action plan for every association in a synchronized manner. Representation, Memorandum, petition, Writ.

3. Identify action groups

– associations uniting all presidents

– legal drafting –

– Public Relations -PR

– Fund rising -all secretaries &treasures

– Lobby with law-makers and administrators

– Government Engineers protection.

Engineers Message

Need to connect with all practicing professional engineers across the country. Every Engineer should read the Supreme Court judgment dt. 17th March 2020. Building/Layout planning and design is not the sole domain of Architects as claimed by them misinterpreting the Architect Act 1972. It protects only the title of Architect and not the practice.

Now Architects through COA are attempting to initiate amendments to the act taking the entire domain of construction under the act.

If they succeed, 100s of 1000s of engineers in towns and districts whose livelihood is planning and design would lose the right to practice the profession and may have to play second fiddle to Architects.

In India, the Engineers or Engineering profession is not defined in the constitution. Many efforts to get an Engineers ACT have not been successful so far.

IEI Has 80k Civil Engineering members and 130 centers across the country and can support our fraternity.

There are many local body engineers’ associations that are not connected at the state level or national level.

It’s time to bring all engineers through these local associations on to state-level federations and connect the state federations at the national level.

ACCEI, IAStructE, CEAI, ECI, APGCE, GRACE, FACEAT, FORCE, WALT-AP, GSI, ICI, SEAT, ICE, ISSE, CEV INDIA, PSI are the associations that are already working together and taking up many legal issues and have been successful. 

Now we propose to take up the issues concerning all the engineers practicing at the national level. We must unite and protect our profession. We must take care of our welfare.

If engineers are protected,

Engineers protect Engineering.

If Engineering is protected,

Built Environment is Protected.

Protected Built Environment provides safe and Comfortable living to humanity.

Join our attempt to unite engineers across India.

We will share the action plan with all the engineers through the associations.

Looking forward. 

Connect to all civil engineers on Facebook, LinkedIn, Telegram, YouTube

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smartinfrest

Telegram: https://t.me/joinchat/R6ebUJnWp-PHU7GO

 (Civil Engineers of India)

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ponnadasuryaprakash

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ponnada-surya-prakash-04135220

 

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