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OCMS (Online Computerised Monitoring System): An Ideal Tracking Mechanism For Central Sector Projects


The majority of Ministries, including those of power, coal, telecom, petroleum, etc., have adopted the OCMS. The physical performances are evaluated using benchmarks. The IPMD’s persistent nagging has improved reporting, and the majority of public sector businesses are now reporting online. The adoption of OCMS was centrally focussed on minimising cost and time overruns by speeding up the tracking process of infrastructure projects and has been considered as a remedial measure against cost and time overruns by MOSPI.

Through the Online Computerised Monitoring System (OCMS) mechanism, the IPMD (Infrastructure and Project Monitoring Division) keeps track of the progress of Central Sector Projects costing more than Rs.150 crores. OCMS is a government-to-government (G2G) application programme built on the Oracle platform. It offers connections to the Cabinet Secretariat, PMO, Planning Commission, and all Administrative Ministries to examine project reports and query results. It gives several project-executing agencies the ability to periodically enter and view project status data using a web-based interface. Authentication and authorization are performed three times during the data submission procedure. In OCMS, any number of milestones can be generated and maintained. Project agencies can choose from the available list of pre-structured templates, the reasons for delays or, alternatively, they can submit new reasons for delays based on their own experiences. Following analysis and publication of the data supplied for a certain time period, a comprehensive summary of the most recent developments in all active Central Sector Infrastructure Projects is provided. Any form of file can be uploaded (e.g., a photo, a map, an Excel sheet, a pdf, a PERT/CPM chart, etc.) on OCMS. It also offers a communication route between the Administration Ministry and the Project Implementing Agencies and allows for the monitoring of MoU targets and metrics. The majority of Ministries, including those of power, coal, telecom, petroleum, etc., have adopted the OCMS. The physical performances are evaluated using benchmarks. The IPMD’s persistent nagging has improved reporting, and the majority of public sector businesses are now reporting online. However, information on milestones and the causes of schedule and cost overruns are still not fully given. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2015)

Being an online interface, internet connectivity is a must. As far as other utilities are concerned, OCMS allows for time-free online project-based data collection and communication, the transmission of graphics and images, PERT/CPM charts, access to sectoral reports from the Ministries, and guidelines, processes, and circulars relevant to those reports. Project managers and engineers have the chance to share their experiences in the electronic magazine. A firewall protects the system’s database, preventing anyone but authorised users from altering the data. Access codes are given to all user agencies so they can access sector reports and project-specific information. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2008)

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The chronological developments in the field of OCMS soon from its announcement, implementation, phased operationalisation, and technical improvements to redevelopment and redesigning cannot be over-sighted and are therefore accounted for here.

In the early 2000s, the IPMD (Infrastructure and Project Monitoring Division) took the initiative to introduce OCMS (Online Computerised Monitoring System) in order to reduce issues of cost and time overruns. Therefore, some consultants were appointed to assist in the construction of the Scheme Plan, managing external funding of proposals and other capacity-building measures. However, its proper implementation was carried out at a later stage. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2000)

On 31st March 2006, OCMS (Online Computerised Monitoring System) was implemented by IPMD (Infrastructure and Project Monitoring Division) and consultants were appointed accordingly, to study the implementation process of projects belonging to varied sectors. The results of the study were then utilised to draft the project implementation manual for future planning to reduce cost overruns and delays. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2006)

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Soon after the implementation of OCMS, the phased operationalisation was ruled out in the same year and training was imparted to the respective project managers regarding data entry in sectoral projects and continuous online tracking of the real-time progress of infrastructure projects. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2007)

In 2011-12, for the sake of dynamic improvement, in response to complaints from PSU, the IPMD made changes to the OCMS and resolve issues faced by the PSU through OCMS training or interaction-based clarifications. In this period, the emphasis was largely on convincing the PSUs to online forward the information. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2012)

Since 2016-17, the OCMS has been undergoing redesign and development by MOSPI (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation). Under NIC’s direction, the OCMS is currently being upgraded in .NET and SQL to address the demands of different stakeholders. The improved features, such as dashboards and visuals, will make the new programme more user-friendly. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2017)

With effect from November 2021, now there is no need to wait for the uploading of the Monthly Flash Report up to 50 days of the reporting month as it has been reduced to 15 days. There has been an increase in the number of Central Sector Infrastructure Projects reported to the OCMS as a result of the Ministry’s persistent urging of the line ministries on reporting projects by the implementing agencies. Since August 2021, more than 92% of infrastructure projects with a budget of Rs. 150 crores or more have been reported by the Ministries/Implementing Agencies on the Ministry’s OCMS. (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, 2023)

The adoption of OCMS was centrally focussed on minimising cost and time overruns by speeding up the tracking process of infrastructure projects and has been considered as a remedial measure against cost and time overruns by MOSPI (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation) since the early 2000s.

Hopefully, in the near future, with the redevelopment and redesigning of OCMS by MOSPI (Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation), it would contribute more to reducing cost overruns and delays with its constant endeavours in technical upgradations.

References

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2000). Annual Report 1999-2000.

Retrieved from

https://www.mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/reports_and_publication/annual_report_of_ministry/1999_2000/ch13.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2006). Annual Report 2005-06.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/reports_and_publication/annual_report_of_ministry/2005_2006/arep_chapter9_2006.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2007). Annual Report 2006-07.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/mospi_arep2007.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2008). Annual Report 2007-08.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/mospi_arep2008.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2012). Annual Report 2011-12.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/mospi_annual_report_2011-12.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2015). Annual Report 2014-15.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/mospi_annual_report_2014-15.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2017). Annual Report 2016-17.

Retrieved from https://mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/mospi_Annual_Report_2016-17.pdf

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. (2023). Annual Report 2022-23.

Retrieved from mospi.gov.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/AnnualReport2022-23_0.pdf

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About the author

Md Saifuddin Mujaddidi is Research Scholar, Department of Management Studies, Faculty of Management Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Dr. Furqan Qamar is a former Advisor (Education) in the Planning Commission of India. He has been the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Rajasthan and Central University of Himachal Pradesh. Dr. Qamar is currently the Professor of Management at the Centre for Management Studies (CMS), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi.


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