The increase in public expenditure as well as emergence of new range of models (such as Public – Private Partnerships) for infrastructure development and for various services has resulted in a growing demand for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and performance management from the Government, project implementers, international donor organizations and civil society at large. There is an imperative need to put in place effective monitoring, evaluation and performance measurement in order to improve the effectiveness of the outcomes. More attention is required to be paid not only to outlays but also to outcomes.
Monitoring of a program or intervention involves the collection of routine data that measure progress toward achieving program objectives. It is used to track changes in programme performance over time. The common types of monitoring are (i) Results monitoring; (ii) Compliance monitoring; (iii) Context (situation) monitoring; (iv) Beneficiary monitoring; (v) Financial monitoring; (vi) Organisational monitoring.
Evaluation measures how well the program activities have met expected objectives and / or the extent to which changes in outcomes can be attributed to the programme or intervention. Evaluation is of various types : (a) According to evaluation timing – Formative evaluation; Summative evaluation; Mid-term evaluation; Terminal evaluation; ex-post evaluation; (b) According to who conducts evaluation – internal or self evaluation; External or independent evaluation; Participatory evaluation; Joint evaluation; (c) According to evaluation technicality or methodology – Real time evaluation; Meta – evaluation; Thematic evaluation; Cluster / sector evaluation; Impact evaluations.
Monitoring & Evaluation is not a one-time activity but is an on-going process. It requires collection of information from varied sources and locations, at varied times and in different forms, from different people and by different people. Therefore, it is imperative that this significant activity is further enabled through independent and neutral and organized Monitoring and Evaluation services framework from within an organisation and via external agency / institutional facilitation
Monitoring & Evaluation plan is an outline for the steps to be undertaken to ensure that the project is on track. It lists a project’s audience, their information needs, the strategies that will be used for data collection, the indicators, the methods that will be used to collect data, and when, by whom, and where data will be collected. A monitoring plan brings in at one place all the aspects of monitoring in a project. It details the monitoring indicators, their periodicity, method of information collection, from where the information is collected and by whom the information is collected. A written document detailing and integrating all these at one place would tremendously facilitate Monitoring and Evaluation efforts in a project. This would as well facilitate optimization of human and financial resources allocated for the Monitoring & Evaluation process.
Thus, Monitoring and Evaluation process focuses on change being introduced, generating insights, identifying gaps and enabling corrective interventions (with respect to original as well as revised targets, objectives and goals).
Monitoring and Evaluation helps program implementers to (a) make informed decisions regarding program operations and service delivery based on objective evidence;
(b) ensure the most efficient and effective use of resources, (c) objectively assess the extent to which the program is having or has had the
desired impact, in what areas it is effective, and where course corrections need to be considered; (d) meet organizational reporting and other requirements,
and convince program implementing agencies that the investments have been worthwhile or that alternative approaches should be considered etc.
In view of the above perspectives, the process of developing a Monitoring and Evaluation plan is essentially finalizing indicators, finalizing method(s) of assessment, defining the resource allocation and assigning responsibility for getting the data and constructing information for enabling decision making.
Every development intervention necessitates a methodology to formulate and implement its objectives, which need an effective Management Information System (MIS) that can generate useful information to facilitate effective decision making. At the core of use of suitable computing systems is the strength required for developing indicators, undertaking sample design and sample surveys, use of econometric techniques, obtaining data and collating the same, undertaking statistical analysis using appropriate tools such as SPSS, STATA, SAS softwares and further interpreting results.
In order to strengthen the implementation of a programme as a whole, which is undertaken increasingly with application of suitable project management softwares / tools, including approaches to strengthen planning, delivery and monitoring, it is imperative to resort to the use of modern tools of management. In other words, Monitoring and Evaluation requires innovative tools for providing insights regarding the programme to achieve the set objectives.
An important way to ascertain the effectiveness of the targeted activities or inputs essential for achievement is to evaluate them during the process of implementation itself (in real time or online basis), so that appropriate remedial measures can be taken at the right time. Thus, use of MIS and computing arrangements including arrangements such as cloud based computing and usage of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) related softwares as well adds strength to Monitoring and Evaluation of programs, projects and activities that becomes crucial in goal attainment.
Productivity assessments is an integral feature of Monitoring and Evaluation processes. In an alternative viewpoint, it can also be seen that the process of Monitoring and Evaluation leads to identification and introduction of suitable timely interventions in programs and projects that would result in more productive results, outputs and outcomes.
It can be emphatically stated in view of national and international experiences that Monitoring and Evaluation enhances the productivity of programs and projects to achieve higher results.
NPC has been involved in productivity assessments and directly and indirectly in Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) studies and Performance Management of various Government funded projects and schemes, as well as private sector initiatives including industrial processes and across supply chains.
NPC through its various divisions, namely Economic services, Industrial engineering / Process management, Information technology, Environment management, Agri-business management, Human Resource Management, Energy Management, International Services etc., has undertaken a vast variety of projects across sectors and sub-sectors for government, international organizations and other agencies.
NPC has the tools that are utilized for project management and planning and for undertaking econometric and statistical analysis of data that need to be obtained through suitable sampling technique, besides having GIS softwares pertaining to GIS based applications.
NPC has further developed institutional linkages in order to offer cloud based IT platforms for real time Monitoring & Evaluation of projects, including Government schemes and infrastructure development projects. The methodology involves development of IT/cloud based digital platforms/ frame work in order to collect real time data, information, pictures, status and progress of the project and provide periodic feedback and evaluation reports to the project sponsors, in order to monitor the progress of the project and enhance the effectiveness of the outcomes.
In the context of Monitoring and Evaluation initiatives and requirements of the Framework, and in view of the realities that projects and programmes are increasingly multi-disciplinary and have implications across various sectors and themes, the National Productivity Council with its vast experiences across domains and ability to integrate the knowledge and expertise across various disciplines with a spread across 12 states and strong workforce of over 150 specialists (economists, engineers, scientists, productivity researchers, Regional Development Specialists (Urban and Rural development domains), Agri – Business specialists etc.), is in a unique position and poised to offer high quality M&E services in India to all Ministries and Departments at Centre, State and District Levels and the Private and Public Sector Units.
NPC is accordingly launching the M&E services division towards offering objective assessments and neutral and impartial advisory framework towards M&E activities to support national development objectives in India.