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Credit: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (from the Ministry's Twitter page: twitter.com/MoHUA_India)

Credit: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (from the Ministry's Twitter page: twitter.com/MoHUA_India)

Central Public Works Department of India launches web-based tool for real-time monitoring of projects

On 13 April 2018, the Indian Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, Mr Hardeep Puri, launched Smart Imprest Cards & e-Measurement Book (e-MB) on the Public Financial Management System (PFMS) portal for the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The Smart Imprest Cards will help to drive 100 per cent digitisation of payments, while e-MB will enable monitoring the financial expenditure as well as physical progress of all projects undertaken by the CPWD.

The PFMS links the financial networks of Central, State Governments and the agencies of State Governments and it acts as a financial management platform for all plan schemes of the central and state governments. 

CPWD, under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), is the central government’s comprehensive construction management department, which provides services from project concept to completion, consultancy and maintenance management. CPWD executes around 15,000 Projects/works across the country involving annual payments of Rs 150-250 billion (US$ 2.3- 3 billion) every year through its 400 field offices located all over the country, including in remote and hilly regions of the country.

Towards 100% digital payments

CPWD has been undergoing a major digital transformation. All of the 400 field offices of CPWD across the country were networked by rolling out a special integrated web-based system of PFMS ensuring digital payments and accounting, with effect from July 2017. According to the government’s media release, with this CPWD has become the first organisation of any civil ministry to become 100% digital at the field level. 

CPWD also became the first field organisation in the Civil Ministries to achieve nearly 100% digitisation of payments in July 2017.  Around 97% of payments made in MoHUA were through cashless/digital mode. However, 2-3% payments were still being made through issue of cheques. This included around 8000 cheques issued for Imprest (imprest refers to a fund used by a business for small items of expenditure and restored to a fixed amount periodically, such as petty cash) related cash payments.

The launch of Smart Imprest cards, coupled with the end-to-end process digitisation, is aimed towards boosting digital payments towards hundred per cent.

MoHUA is partnering with three accredited banks, namely Axis bank for the main Ministry, SBI for CPWD and IDBI bank for Printing for the roll out of the cards across India. 

Real-time monitoring of financial and physical progress of projects

A special CDDO (Cheque Drawing and Disbursing Officer; CDDO is authorised to draw bills and make payment on behalf of the Government) module of PFMS for CPWD has been developed by the PFMS team of Controller General of Accounts (CGA), Ministry of Finance.  This CDDO module is an advanced online web based end-to-end integrated system/solution of e-payments, e-accounting, along with a Management Information System.  This module enables real-time monitoring of expenditure in respect of all CPWD projects thereby ensuring, greater transparency and accountability. 

In addition to the above, a process was initiated to digitise the Schedule of Agreements and Measurement Book to track physical progress of works/projects implemented by CPWD.

The e-MB module on the PFMS Portal will be the first integrated web-based module to monitor both the financial progress i.e. the utilisation of funds, along with related physical progress captured as per schedule of various items of works through e-MB in all projects/works undertaken by CPWD. The e-MB module is expected to facilitate better comprehensive results-based monitoring of CPWD works/projects on a real time basis. This is said to be in line with a shift in the Government of India’s emphasis from “Outlays” to result-oriented “Outputs and Outcomes”.

A Pilot run of the e- MB module for all projects costing more than Rs 1.5 million (US$ 23,000) has been implemented in all CPWD Divisions in Delhi region. Based on the success of the trial and stabilization of the system, it is proposed to roll out E-MB module in all 400 CPWD offices in the country.

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