Friday, May 7, 2021

Project evaluation

An exercise which should form an inalienable constituent of building up of a project is its physical verification not only during the currency of the work going on it but even thereafter as it becomes an asset. Whether the project exists after completion or the same was going as per planning and strictly as per cost estimates during its building up, can be ensured only through recurring physical verification. It serves more purposes than what actually is sought for. Dedicated team of associates, supervisors and experts jointly can be tasked to conduct such exercise to achieve better results. We have been accustomed to a sort of tradition of projects in our State, getting delayed, not getting completed in time, specification variations being galore, cost overruns hampering deriving benefits from the projects and involving ancillary avoidable expenditures and the like. There is a need for a change primarily to have regard for the time factor and the cost involved for bringing about an improvement in the scenario. To that, if we do not add the component of quality standards, the exercise would only prove half baked. Having said so, there is a need to have a readily prepared full data whether it is about pending and languishing projects which keep on mounting, report on periodic evaluation studies if any done, present position and the likely remedial action plan which when all perused at appropriate decision taking authority, could help devising solutions and tasking befitting line of action. For this, the onus lies on the Directorate of Economics and Statistics which should prove as a ready reckon(er) and a source of whichever information was required. At the outset, let us start from planning a project itself. What methodology is employed to assess whether planning of a project was sans any lacuna which verily calls for bringing about professionalism as well as full efficiency in planning. A close cooperation of various connected departments which play joint and several roles in a project getting raised should know about evaluation studies made by Economics and Statistics Department of such project at any given time. That would in turn result in taking up of corrective measures. Evaluation of projects and the feedback received helps in knowing about where the project has reached in its objective and whether desired goals were reached, whether the project was sailing safe in its journey of producing planned results and if desired changes were brought in. In the absence of all these parameters or any one from them not showing up as planned, whether corrective measures including mid-term corrections were earnestly needed. Indeed there is an urgent need to understand the importance of evaluation of projects. Different components and indicators of a project concerned are nothing but outcomes and impacts. It is the outcomes which define the measurable results and benefits but only when project evaluation and better management of the project like mandatory exercise was done. Holding review meetings with constructive outcome must form an integral part of monitoring projects, the outcome of such review meetings and suggestions must be shared with all stakeholders .It is in the fitness of things to keep appraised the Finance Department on monthly basis in respect of the outcome of the physically verified projects. Should there be any laxity in conducting evaluation exercise by the evaluation team, be it due to being under staffed or bereft of the knowledge of the job or again the habit of not promptly sending the reports, the entire exercise would prove as a naught. The crux of all such measures is to ensure timely completion of projects giving it full support of funds as and when required, adhering to full norms of standards and quality maintenance and above all, to avoid cost runs as much as possible.