Projectisation of India

Dr. Ashutosh Karnatak


In simple terms, a Project means achieving an objective within time and cost by managing various resources and constraints. So one can convert / should convert every objective into a project for its successful execution. Project Management is application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently.

Project Management is generally considered as a specialized field in itself, applicable only for big engineering & technical projects. On the contrary, Project Management consists of skills and techniques one uses everyday, but in a structured manner and with discipline.Project Management is a combination of Science, Art and Commerce and hence it is a complete knowledge, one need to / should understand to achieve both professional as well as personal objectives on sustainable basis. 

Indian Energy Scenario & Energy Projects:

Indian energy basket is primarily Coal, Oil & Gas. 70% of the Oil demand is being met through the imports of Crude and Petroleum products  at an approximate net import cost of Rs. 5,26,500 Crores (reference – PPAC data for 2012-13).

Presently around 570 government sector Projects (costing Rs. 150 Crores or more) in under execution out of which around 250 projects are overshooting in time and there by leading to a cost overrun of approximately Rs. 1,42,000 Crores. This has been the situation

over a period of time wherein the Time & Cost overruns in government sector projects in India were hovering around 50% & 20% respectively.

If 30% of the cost overrun in government sector projects could be controlled by better project management practices, the growth in net oil import cost is recovered.
All these unwanted results are the consequences of lack of time consciousness, Decision deficits, and lack of relevant PM Knowledge / Skills.

During one of the recent addressing of Public, our Hon’ble prime Minister had rightfully quoted that money does not grow on tree. The need of the How true it is. The need of the hour is to understand the Cost of Time, particularly in project domain where Time is the Cost. Hence it is essential to develop consciousness about time and cost. Particularly utmost priority should be accorded at all levels right from Ministries down to Gram Panchayats to complete revenue projects within time and cost.

Over a period of time, it has been experienced that the project personnel are generally satisfied with mere progress, whereas they should be striving for progress as per schedule.  This is the result of lack of time consciousnesses as well as the inability to identify the value of time i.e. money which is not visible. Instead of focusing on tangible money which is in our pocket& control, more consciousness towards intangible cost (value of time) is required.

The time overrun has two impacts:

  • The project will not be able to generate revenue for which it had been conceived.

  • Time overrun may lead to cost overrun, which has to be borne by the client and this may impact the viability of the project.

So consciousness of time is the major issue at the country level as well as individual level.

Working is good, working on time is better& working within time is best.

Dr Ashutosh Karnatak

The endeavor of each project executive should be completion of the project ahead of target schedule

Project Management Education in Academics:

Roots of these concerns in execution of Projects can be tracked down to the upbringing of the children& the prevailing education system in India. A typical young Indian kid, starting from the age of 6 or 7 years, is so busy in attending classes, doing home works, playing computer games, learning music etc., that he / she rarely gets a chance to use wisdom / skills to manage own affairs. Rather, the parents arrange everything they could so that the kid can spend more time to excel in academics.

This over care by parents / prevailing system make the kids vulnerable in facing the real life situations at a later age and a consequence, they struggle in their professional life under the duress of dynamic external environment.

Look at the first set of constraints a young executive, who is about to start his / her career, faces during the changeover from student to work life:

  • Necessity to work in teams having conflicting views (Team Work)


  • Completing the tasks on time (Time Management)
  • Decision making having consequential implications

In a long run, the young executives face much tougher challenges such as Risk Assessment & Mitigation, Resource Management, Stress Management and so on. These are not mere subjects that one can learn in a small period of time. Rather, even highly successful professionals find it difficult at times to manage these areas of expertise.

The solution lies in introducing subjects that deal with all such fields required for successfully managing professional and personal spheres of life. Project Management is one such subject, which if taught from the right age (from 5th / 6th standard), will develop positive attitude; rational thinking abilities; essential skills such as Time Management, Decision Making etc. and right reflexes while facing the realistic situations. 

In India, there are colleges which teach Engineering, Medical, Law courses etc. for developing the future Engineers, Doctors and Legal Professionals etc., but no Institution offers Bachelors Degree in Project Management (BPM) as a full term course. Like the degree of Engineering or MBBS is essential for the careers in respective fields, Degree in Project Management (BPM) should be made a qualification for students who want to develop their career as Project Managers. Further, there can be specialization with respect to the Projects in different fields of student’s choice, such as Automotives, Infrastructure Development, Software, Oil & Gas field etc.

Project Management in itself is a vast subject, and hence should be taught as full time course rather than as a subject in the field of management, if maximum benefit is to be reaped out.




Following benefits are foreseen by introducing Project Management in Academics:

  • Students will be well trained to face real life situations – Overall personality will be developed.
  • Excellent job opportunities to the students & recruitment guaranty
  • Development of projectized thinking in Individuals ensure cutting of time over runs and cost over runs in Projects including government Sector Projects.
  • Alignment of thinking from the grass root level to top most decision making level ensures organizational synergy.

Project Management at different Levels:

At family level the house wife /husband is required to develop a plan for welfare of the family, relationship management, financial planning, conflict handling, leadership etc.

All the projects are executed with the help of contractors, who are likeresource to the client for doing the job. Due to inadequate knowledge / education, most of the time,

contractors are unable to understand the nuances of project management. They generally tend to managetime in linear fashion i.e. if a work is to be completed earlier than scheduled;they immediately deploy additional resources instead of finding out the ways to optimize the utilization of resources. They generally spend very less time on planning and as a result face unforeseen constraints during implementation. For example, say a particular job needs usage of a special tool, which is readily not available in the market. Instead of maintaining a spare tool to face any exigencies during implementation, they will go for procurement of new tool after the tool in use is damaged. Such planning / functioning will eventually lead to time & cost overruns. Not only that project of the Client is suffering in such situation, but in the process, the Contractor will also incur losses on account of idling of their resources. Over a period of experience in infrastructure projects, it is observed that the Contractors can save at least 5% of their expenditures, if only they properly plan the project implementation.

In the PanchayatRaj system where most of the power is vested with the block level and the development spree starts from the village level, it is necessary to develop the sense of time from the block level onwards.

The above is possible only when there is the movement of “Projectization of India “, with an objective to develop the sense / consciousness  on “Time and Cost”,  which is possible only when the knowledge of Project Management is disseminated at all the levels.

So, theProject Management education will also be beneficial to:

  1. Family Members

  3. Contractors

  5. MPs / MLAs / Block Pramukhs

Arjuna – MC4E2 (e), a Breakthrough Project Monitoring & Controlling Technique:

A statistical analysis of the time and cost over runs in the Projects indicate the following as major causes for the deviations from Project Schedules:

    1. Lack of focused approach i.e. no firm timelines for completing the tasks.


    1. Decision making deficiency at different levels.


    1. Poor reliability in fulfilling the commitments.


    1. Lack of proper project management education

There are no good or and decisions in Projects, but only timely or delayed decisions.

Dr Ashutosh Karnatak

Project execution is both science and art. Science Part is planning, costing etc. whereas the art part is proper monitoring & controlling during execution. Existing progress oriented project monitoring techniques are ineffective to deal with the constraints and hence a better project monitoring / controlling technique based onConstraints first & Progress later”principle is required.

Arjuna – MC4E2 (e) is one such technique.

What is (MC4E2)e?

M       -         Milestone monitoring

C        -         Constraint monitoring

C        -         Commitment monitoring

C        -         Change monitoring

C        -         Cost monitoring

E        -         Exception monitoring

E        -         Early warning monitoring

e        -         educational requirements

In brief the technique can be explained as below:

  • Whenever any project is about to begin, the first activity to be carried out is to chalk out the detailed project schedule, which is to be agreed by the Client, Consultant and the Contractors, who are the major stakeholders of the project.



  • Each activity in the schedule is to be split into number of milestones.
  • All these milestones are to be periodically reviewed, preferably on fortnightly basis.
  • In case any milestone is not achieved, constraints behind such variation are to be identified so that they are resolved at the earliest.
  • For resolving these constraints and to achieve the milestones, clear

    responsibility needs to be allocated and the commitments of the respective stakeholder are to be recorded.

  • During the fortnightly / periodic review meetings, the Commitment Compliance Index (CCI) of the Client, Consultant and Contractor are to be monitored. Generally it is observed that CCI of the stakeholders is around 35 – 40% whereas successful execution of the Project demands a CCI of more than 85%. Display of the CCI’s in review meeting motivates the Stakeholders to improve upon their CCI’s.
  • All the changes i.e. extra items / deviations etc. are to be monitored so that they are managed adequately. It is observed that generally approvals of the extra items / deviations are taken during order closure stage. However, a better project management demands that all the changes be made only upon due approval from the competent authority and that all such cases are processed concurrently rather than during order closure stage.
  • While planning the funds for the project, client should also concentrate on the fund planning of the contractor. Specific attention should be given on how much expenditure the Contractor is required to make in the next one month, on what activities that expenditure will be made and how the funds will be generated by them. If required, Client may also need to take some deviations from the payment terms / billing schedule etc. in the interest of the Project.
  • Exceptions are constraints which the project team is unable to resolve and needs management intervention for resolution. Hence, any constraint, that is pending for more than a fixed period, say 15 days, needs to be reported to management as exceptions for resolution.
  • Early warnings are the signals system gives to indicate that some deviations are going to happen from the plan. There should be a system in place to sense the early warnings and to take appropriate corrective action in advance.
  • Often, education and experience are considered same where as the fact is that education and experience complement each other and one cannot replace the other.  Hence relevant Project management education, domain knowledge and Soft Skills are essential for successful project execution. Hence adequate thrust is to be given to educate the Project personnel of Client, Consultant as well as Contractors. 

Tri-Netra Concept:

Each Project Manager should have three eyes to visualize the following activities:

  • One eye to visualize the work in progress.
  • One eye see the obstacles ahead so that proper planning can be carried out to ensure smooth work progress.
  • One eye to look back in the completed activities to visualize if anything is missed out.



The attitude of Project Manager should be – You give me problem, I will give you solution.

Dr Ashutosh Karnatak


Mission Projectization of India: 

With this aim in mind following is proposed to be done:

  1. Introduction of project management education from 5th Standard onwards.
  2. Introduction of project management at graduation level, where one can get degree as Bachelor in Project Management (BPM) –which will enhance the employment options of the individual in comparison to other streams. Thanks to the growth of the Project oriented industries and Corporate Managements thrust for timely execution of projects with limited resources, the demand for ‘Smart Project Managers’ has reached an all time high globally as well as in India. Against an estimated requirement of 5 Lac skilled Project Managers in India, there are only 30000 presently and this gap is expected to grow further in the coming years.
  3. More focus in Project Management subject in engineering colleges.
  4. Education of project management to contractors and vendors.

Way Forward (Strategy) for Projectization of India:

  1. Govt. Level :
  1. Systems: All the ministries involved in projects, should have an embedded “Project Monitoring and Control Centre (PMCC)”, which will monitor and control all the projects through Arjuna - MC4E2 (e) technique.  Further, all the projects should be monitored by a special cell in Prime Minister Office (PMO), which is primarily responsible for resolution of all constraints and exceptions apart from reviewing the progress.
  2. Exception Reporting: In has been experienced that “decision deficit“is the major factor in most of the projects. Decisions are never absolute, but are heavily influenced by prevailing Circumstances. The best option selected under the prevailing circumstances is decision. Delegation of Powers to different levels plays a key role in decision making process, but only if such decisions are fully backed by the higher-ups.

In projects environment, situations is so dynamic that many a times, the project team faces a dilemma in decision making whether decision is to be taken in the interest of the project or in line with the set policies / procedures. This dilemma leads to decision deficit and the resulting constraints thereon would impact the project progress. Under the prevailing conflict among project interests / systems & policies, it is rather difficult to resolve such constraints at lower level thereby requiring the involvement of higher management to resolve them.

The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Albert Einstein

  • All such pending decisions, which could not be taken at lower levels within a prescribed time limit, say 15 days, are not taken within prescribed time are called “Exceptions”.

    • All the bosses should obtain fortnightly excerptions reports from their subordinates.
    • In case there are no exceptions, it should be reported as “NIL”, but report is must.

    It is excellent tool as it would help those who owns the project, and at the same time also forces the subordinates to take decisions within their control.

    • Performance Appraisals: Any country, Organization, home or individual keep growing / progressing when they are performing excellently in a; of their designated roles. Hence in the Performance Appraisal process, majority weightage, say 3/4ths, should be given to Performance and balance for other attributes. In fact performance will be outstanding when other attributes are also supporting. Therefore requirement is to have a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,Realistic and Time bound) appraisal system instead of system which is more based on perception.
    1. Organizations:

    The strategy will be almost same; however, there is a requirement to have a “Project Monitoring Committee” at the board level,headed by an independent director, which is required to control time and cost overruns.

  • Time overrun may lead to revenue loss whereas cost overrun may cause burden on financial position of the company. This committee may review the progress through Arjuna - MC4E2 (e) technique. More focus should be given to decisions which are kept pending and disputes which were escalated unnecessarily instead of resolution of the same at the appropriate level as such disputes, if not resolved timely, may lead to arbitration / legal disputes later on andthereby would cost much to the Organization.

    1. Gram Panchayats:

    Sense of time needs to be percolated to the lowest rung of the society then only projects/tasks etc will be commissioned /completed within time and cost. India being the largest democracy of the world and all the governments are in favor of empowering Gram Panchayats, there is a need for Project management education at Panchayat level. It can be done by NGO with the help of project professionals from various Organizations. The Pnchayat members should be trained on value of time / cost, how the project execution is done and also on development of soft skills. It will have great impact in National building and reaching the goals set in vision plans.

    1. Elected members:

    As the Indian democracy is moving towards maturity, denizens are getting educated about their rights / responsibilities which calls for more corroborative approach towards fulfillment of promises   responsibilities by Hon’ble elected members. So they are also required to be educated on management of the constituency or their area of operation. They should be trained on soft skills

leadership,decision making, conflict resolution, negotiations, behavior skill etc.

Different parties should have their own training mechanism wherein it should be made compulsory to a have certified courses on different subjects on continuous basis and it should be made as a prequalification to become MLA or MP. Parties should have their own mechanism of branding through which the party or party worker is recognized.

  1. Students:

Our future is dependent on quality of the younger generation i.e.their mental attitude,thinking pattern and their education etc. It is proposed to introduce project management educations in academics starting from 5th Standard onwards.

Also, keeping in view the huge demand for SMART Project Managers, Bachelor in Project Management (BPM) degree may be introduced. 

  1. Family members:

This knowledge,if imparted to house members,would help them in understanding the human relations in better manner. Their knowledge on relationships, Crisis management etc gets enhanced.


Knowledge of “project Management“is not confined to project engineers but also required by all sections of society.

So let us start a movement on“Projectization of India“with an objective to disseminate and

  • develop consciousness of time and cost, which is beneficial for the individuals as well as for country at large.

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