Parliamentary panel recommends permanent cadre for NHAI

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which has almost almost two-thirds of its staff either on contract or deputation, should have its own permanent cadre to ensure continuity in administration, inflow, outflow of personnel, and retaining institutional memory, according to a report by the Parliament Committee on Public Undertakings.

Staff composition

NHAI, which was created by an Act of Parliament and has 40 per cent staff on contract and 27 per cent on deputation, shared both the pros and cons of such hiring with the committee.

Data shared with the committee shows that there has been a slow increase in independent cadre officials in NHAI in the last three years — from 224 of 1,038 in fiscal 2014 to 335 of 1,000 in fiscal 2016.

In deputation, officials from the Centre, states and PSUs are hired for a fixed tenure. People from private organisations can also be hired on contract.

NHAI said the organisation is a lean, officer-oriented organisation and works on the business model of outsourcing specific tasks related to design, construction and supervision of works and subsequent management of completed corridors.

Such practices help keep the NHAI relatively lean. It harnesses private sector efficiencies, resources and expertise and provides flexibility in formulation and execution of works, apart from enabling speedy execution of works.

The benefit of such hiring is that the liability of such an organisation towards individual is for a short period, while the disadvantage of hiring on deputation and contract is that due to continuous turnover of personnel, there is loss of institutional memory.

Long-term contracts

NHAI has long-term contracts with with road developers for construction, road widening and maintenance.

The committee has also raised concerns on maintaining good quality roads, and wondered if the extent of subcontracting by large contractors could be limited.

Published on August 04, 2017

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