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Posts Tagged ‘Govt Project’

Planning on various govt projects in Manipur state are conducted by dignified (IAS & MCS) officials on consultation with external professionals. Then, the curiosity arises ‘why govt projects often get failed or stuck incomplete in Manipur?’ A first glance on this issue leads to the key probable answers – ‘Poor Project Management’ and ‘Unskilled Operational Structure’. Some of the areas within project management worth giving more focus by planning officials are as follows:

Project Management (PM) Skills: PM skills are achieved after extensive hands-on work experience via continuous improvement and knowledge sharing with other experts in the similar fields of work. Planning officials need to update their PM skills for better project planning and execution with global outlook. Govt should consider providing training courses for few officials in top management institutes within the country and aboard. In addition, officials should have access to reputed online research databases (such as Harvard Business Review, Business Source Premier, EBSCO Electronic journals, etc) for better planning. New online/offline forums should be created for interaction with public/professionals on various govt projects to provide suggestions/inputs. E.g. students of MU (such as MBA graduates) can be employed to conduct analysis and consultancy services of govt projects at low cost via customize internship projects.

Project Management Team: The chain of commands/management from planning till implementation seems unclear and unspecific to everyone involved. The flow of concept and responsibilities are not imparted properly in the entire govt administration, thereby most officials do not know their crucial roles toward the bigger picture. The very critical aspect herein to be remembered by the entire team is ‘Believe self first to succeed before asking others to believe on the brilliant idea’. Wonderful business presentations mostly do not lead to successful end results due to practicality of implementation and execution issues. There needs to be something similar to a corporate strategy group in the administration which evaluates the entire picture and guides the various divisions toward the goal. Such step will help in eradicating the prevailing concept of “Never ending govt project’, and overcoming likely implementation issues.

Stakeholder Analysis & Project Scoping: These two key areas seem missing often in most govt project plans. These documents do show the general contents of a business plan such as the planning team, resources required, execution plans, industry/sector research report, budgeting, timeline, etc. Yet, stakeholder analysis is the most critical activity of any project and it needs to be conducted periodically (not just only at the start of the project initiation phase, since stakeholders may keep changing their views on the project thereby impacting the project completion). Project scoping also helps in defining the focus areas for the project team to achieve the goals and it closely relates to stakeholder analysis. E.g. Stakeholders can be local people, central govt funding authorities, nature/season, private contractors, etc. Yet, one of the key stakeholders in most projects found often missing in the analysis is the underground militant organisations and how to deal with this key stake holder. The project team can’t satisfy all the key stakeholders throughout, but it should still move towards the completion of the project goals in a balancing mode to the stakeholders.

Risks & Uncertainty Management: Officials are often found wanting in most govt projects on how to deal with possible risks already recognized and any uncertain situation in the future. Moreover, there seems to be no special focus area in the planning documents for risks and uncertainty management. The officials should also be trained more on conflict management/negotiation skills (to manage the govt ministers, local people, non-state agents, etc). E.g. What is the value of building a hydro electric power plant on that river this year if the river is going to dry up soon in 6-7yrs in future?, why do thermal power plant need to be build in that year if continuous fuel supply can’t be sustained in future and also if the per unit power cost produced can’t be achieved lesser than the likely market sales energy unit price?, etc.

Opportunity Costs: Various project plans are created by officials under the influence of some great minds or learning from the visits to developed cities, etc. But, officials are again found wanting to provide business justification – why they choose to take up those projects?, Have they really considered ‘the Opportunity Costs’?, Which project would have been the best suitable or best value for money invested?. There should be a discussion room before initiating on any development project by inviting several drafts of possible solutions. The govt should choose one among all the project draft solutions which justifies with higher value to the people and state. E.g. Wasn’t there any other alternatives than building a fly-over in the middle of small Imphal city (with the huge money already invested) to ease the traffic issues?, etc.

Project Closure/Exit Strategy: Officials seem more concerned to complete the plan created by higher authorities without providing valuable feedbacks and timely inputs to the planning team so that the projects can deliver more value even after the project completion or expiry. The timeline of the project has to be clearly defined and monitored. There must be an option or strategy to exit at certain points of the project phase if the planning team feels the project is not worth investing. E.g. What is the business justification of building an entire game village homes with crores of rupees if those homes can be used only for one time during the sports competition?, etc.

(Detailed analysis on Manipur Government’s planning activities can be done by accessing the link: http://www.planningmanipur.gov.in/.)

The latest Manipur State Development Draft Report can be accessed via the link: http://www.planningmanipur.gov.in/Draft_MSDR.htm

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Case: A new strategy to modernise the functioning of the complete state bureaucracy is the key to cure almost 99% of the issues prevailing in Manipur, which leaves only the issue of the armed revolutions by so-called “freedom fighters” in Manipur to get sort out.

Myth: The complete chaos in Manipur is due to –

1)     Indian government (Central govt) has completely failed on its part to make Manipur a prosperous, developed & secure state via its legislative policies & legal acts.

2)     The non-state actors/organisations ought to run Manipur’s public administration by involving their armed militants to bring justice via threatening, forced labour, holding ransom, extortion, death penalty, etc on both the govt employed officials and local people.

Reality: Public administration is a very complex and strategic task which needs continuous improvement on the roles & responsibilities assigned to the charted designations across the organisational structure of the entire state bureaucracy. The current overall chaos in Manipur is the side-effect of prolong involvement of the Government armed forces, as well as, the unwarranted participation of the revolutionary militant organisations into the activities of state administration in Manipur since past decades.

Approach:

1)     Formation of association/organisation based on specialisation/area of expertise (& interest) and public’s encouragement to such groups/teams is a must

Student organisations, local associations and various youth clubs are formed in Manipur with ethnicity concept, poor vision, lack of professionalism & skills, pathetic knowledge on public ethics & behavioural attitudes, unplanned imaginary future career for members involved, concept of pure social work instead of social responsibility, etc. To sustain growth & achieve targeted objectives; students, youths and local people should form clubs & organisations to bring about centre of excellence out of their team effort. Such activities will enable the group to expand their activities & vision beyond the boundary of Manipur state with a ‘Thank You’ note from everyone. Working professionals and people of Manipur origin who are living outside the state can start grouping based on their expertise; and create new ventures/projects that will not only benefit themselves but also fellow Manipur people.

2)     The self-proclaimed revolutionary organisations should concentrate their struggle to the Indian arm forces and police,  rather than involving in the public administration and the network of state government bureaucrats

Public administration is not ‘a cup of tea’ for any government or any group of people in the world. It is a system which needs continuous improvement & modification as per the change in the society from the planner of state/central government as well as the common people. Involvement of non-state groups using power of gun & threat to life does not reduce the volume of socio-economic-political issues in Manipur. Such short-cut temporary methods to cure any minor systematic errors in state administration rather bring about total chaos in the overall functioning of the public administration system due to the bypassing of already tested & proven workflow in the state administrative structure. They should instead encourage intellectuals & common people to form professional associations/firms; which can discuss, analyse & suggest on the policies of the state officials by giving proposals & recommendations based on their work experience and scientific reasoning. Manipur can get develop in every perspectives only when there is FREEDOM on common people to exercise their creative ideas for the welfare of mankind. If FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, and FREEDOM OF JOB is not guaranteed on any working Manipur professional & people inside/outside the state by non-state groups; Manipur can never be developed, self-sufficient, and self-dignified on its own. Non-state groups SHOULD NEVER interfere nor involve in the ideas & visions of any private firms who are trying to create business within Manipur along with development of the local people; instead non-state groups should work indirectly to rectify the policies & rules on the state administrative system to act on any future wrong decision of the business firms to avoid committing such mistakes by other companies/firms.

3)     The state administrative system needs reformation and accountability of its officials on their decisions needs given critical priority

The entire organisational structure of the state administrative system needs to be reviewed on the line of their roles & responsibilities. Every ministries in the state govt needs to revamp for better administration & execution of policies from the top level till the bottom level officials. Institutions of advanced studies & professionals firms should be employed / consulted by State/Central govt to get scientific strategy for their reformation on par with the need of 21st century society. The political, legislative & executive branches of the state machinery need to be reanalysed to make up any short-coming to resolve the entire crises in Manipur. More importantly, reformation on state police forces is a must.

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Case: The Govt of Manipur is unable to make an effective strategy and utilise majority of the annual financial plan allocation for Manipur (drafted by the Planning Commission of India) as usual in the previous year.

Myth: The reasons may be due to – (1) Monetary extortion by militant organisations, (2) Financial hijack by ministers and govt officials, (3) Lack of support/trust from central government, (4) Lack of interests/participation in Manipur by private firms from outside the state and aboard, (5) Disadvantage of starting any new venture due to geographical location, etc.

Reality: The annual financial plan allocation for Manipur can be utilised properly with nearly 100% utilisation on various new socio-economic development projects for Manipur in spite of all the issues prevailing in the state. The complete state administrative services constitute the backbone of the Manipur State Government.

Doubts to be clarified:

(1) Are the entire administrative officials [from the top level to the bottom level] of the Manipur State Govt on par with their job requirements and responsibilities? – Regular team meetings & knowledge sharing sessions are to be conducted periodically among the state govt officials to create passion and continuous learning/development should be encouraged for all the state govt officials via collaboration with academic institutions & eminent consultants.

(2) Is there any program in the planning of the State Govt to avail confidential consulting projects with professional firms on various critical decision making projects, for example – Town planning, Highways & road planning, Primary education, Professional & Higher education, Healthcare planning, Ecological Protection planning, Reforms in Policing & state administration, Cultural & national integration of various communities, Land Utilisation Reforms on agricultural, lake, Hill & forest areas, Means to tackle any possible outcome of natural calamities in future, Power generation & means to meet the current electricity consumption, etc? – State govt should invest money & time by inviting academicians & professionals of International/national standard for suggestion on various critical projects to get scientific feedbacks based on facts & critical analysis. Such activities will bring about transparency and professionalism on the output of the project in actual implementation, since the complete strategic planning will be provided by the concerned consultant.

(3) Does the State Govt properly allocate who should be doing what roles and does each employee know where does he/she belongs on the chart of the entire state administrative system? – Converting all the state firms into central sponsored firms is not a positive idea toward global competition for development, but, Privatisation of govt firms under some rules of protecting the employees is the option to speed up the development of Manipur. The failure of state sponsored firms is not because of the employees, but due to lack of effective strategic planning & management the board members of those firms/institutions. Thus, only via a change on the approach of the executive decisions made by higher officials of state govt ministries will only help resolving the problems.

(4) Why do private enterprises and national/multinational professional companies hesitate to invest in Manipur? – The state govt officials need to understand the simple management concept that Business means professionalism and the ability to make a Return on Investment (ROI). The word ‘business’ may sound more of ‘Jealousy’ or ‘money-minded’ negative meaning in the society prevalent in Manipur or North-East. But the fact is that NO ORGANISATION or INSTITUTION CAN SURVIVE ON FREEBIES. Even religious organisations & missionaries are also a kind of business organisation. They also need a strategic business planning to run and manage the whole system. NGOs [Non-government organisations) too are also a kind of business establishment. Every organisation or association must have the complete organisational business plan (like who does what, what structure it is, flows of responsibilities, means of financing to run and sustain, future prediction and vision, etc). Thus, if Manipur govt intends to invite businessmen and professionals firms to make new ventures in Manipur, then, officials of each state ministries should consult with various strategic consultants on those sectors how to do research and showcase the potentials to the managements of those professionals firms.

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