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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: No Title Reply with quote

The following two step structure may be appropriate:



1.. A Senate or an Engineering Council - which would be responsible for
a) enabling the process of registration through the formulation of an Engineering Registration Act or Bill which may be passed by the Government to convert it into a statute or law and it give it the legal authority to carry out the registration process.

b)the formulation and periodical reviews of the broad goals of registration such as defining   areas of engineering requiring registration.

Essentially, this organization is vested with the legislative aspects involved in the registration process.



2) A Board for Registration of Professional Engineers  - which would be responsible for a)formulation and periodical reviews of the actual process of registration using the processes of application, examination and certification, based on the authority given to it by the Engineering Council/Senate.

b)evaluation and disposal of appeals concerning the processes of application, examination and certification.

Essentially, this organization is vested with the executive and judicial aspects of the process of

registration.





I) What is the constitution of the Engineering Council or Senate?



This body is essentially a body which is responsible for the legislation of the engineering practice.  



The imposition of regulation on any practice can have both positive and negative effects depending on the area and extent of implementation.  It is possible that by very restrictive regulation a certain community can increase the costs of its services through decreasing supply.  It also restricts the freedom of the consumer in his choice for obtaining services.  On the other hand ill informed or uninformed consumers may make choices that may endanger their safety and welfare, the protection of which is the duty of the Government.    









It is clear that aspects of this debate cross the threshold of engineering and encompass social aspects as well.  Therefore this body may contain a balance of individuals from the engineering field and from the public who are capable of defending the interests of the public in a manner that is fair and reasonable to all parties concerned.  Even though the interests of the engineering community may be addressed to some extent through the Engineering Council or Senate, the overall process of registration cannot be viewed from a narrow perspective of 'Of the Engineers, By the Engineers and For the Engineers'.



A number of 12 may be suggested with 6 being distinguished personalities from different fields of engineering and 6 being distinguished personalities from social welfare and consumer protection fields.  Decisions may be taken on majority voting and this balance will make it imperative that the vote of atleast one person from each group will be mandatory to obtain a simple majority.  For certain key constitutional or statutory issues a three fourths majority or a consensus may be desirable.





J) What is the constitution of the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and how would it operate?



The Board of Registration of Professional Engineers [BRPE] may consist essentially of engineers who are nominated by the Engineering Senate/Council from a pool of applications received when nominations are called for publicly or through engineering forums.  



A number of 12 may once again be suggested with engineers representing the areas of engineering in which registration is proposed.  The BRPE can have a specific tenure of 3 years after which two thirds of its members may be retired.  A restriction that no member shall continue for more than two terms may be imposed to prevent stagnation in the constitution and outlook of the BRPE.



The processes mentioned in Question E will have to be executed by the BRPE.  This may required the formulation of several committees with a member of the BRPE as the Chairman.  These committees will handle specific responsibilities and will report back to the BRPE through its chairman.



The BRPE will also require physical infrastructure facilities and permanent administrative support to carry on its activities.  The BRPE may be initially setup through a grant from the Government which may be phased out over a period of 5 years by which it may be expected to be fiscally independent with sustainable sources of revenues in place.



In order to reduce the possibility of a reduction in the integrity of the examination process over time, independent organizations such as IIT -JEE examination authority may be utilized to ensure timely and







K)Which would be the Legislating Authority for this process of Registration - State Govt. or Central Govt.?



The legislative authority has to be a Government.  



I express my individual opinion against the idea of having a Central Govt. Based Authority for the following reasons:



1)   India is a large country and geographical distances are sizeable.  As such it will be difficult for the members of the Administrating Authority such as the Engineering Council or the Board for Registration to meet on a regular basis if such panels are formed with true representation from all over the country.  

2)   The Administering Authorities listed above will have to have atleast one member from each state, if the body has to be truly representative.  Having only one representative makes it very difficult to convene meetings since the convenience of 29 different people from 29 different states will have to be coincided.  In order to alleviate this problem it will become necessary to have at least 2 representatives from each state.  In such a case a membership of about 58 for the Engineering Senate would become unwieldy.

3)      India's 29 states have varied geological/seismic settings making it necessary for the Central Body to administer different examinations suited for the particular requirement of the state, especially in the field of civil engineering.  Essentially a grouping of states on the basis of seismicity - as requiring 'Special Seismic Qualifications' and not requiring such competence -  may be required in order to impose a fair scheme.  Such a scheme seems unnecessary complex and may become increasing impractical.  
3)   The larger the area of representation, the larger the difference of opinion that is expressed in the forum.  This gives rise to a larger necessity to evolve a minimum standard rather than a comprehensive standard - if it were required to achieve a consensus or a substantial majority [such as three fourths majority] on key issues.  This compulsion may leave many issues which are important only to some states not addressed adequately by the Authority because of non-availability of a substantial majority to support the issue.  
4)   The process of democratic majority of opinion which may be relied upon for deciding on a number of issues may alienate many states from this process when a majority is obtained against their opinion.  
5)   The Indian states are also varied in their degree of economic development and population.  This will make for more active and vocal representation from developed states and muted and quiescent representation from less populated and developed states - once again leading to the decision making being weighted towards the interests of the more developed and populated states.
6)   The Authority will receive monies from applicants and possibly grants from the Government also.  Even if due fairness to all states has been achieved in the initial stages, the reality of quantum of fund flows will create vested interests within the Authority over time in order to influence legislation/registration towards the community that pays more for the sustenance of the Authority.
7)   Looking at seismic aspects, the far eastern region which consists of several small states is a particularly sensitive region and it is essential to regulate the engineering practice in this region in the interests of the welfare of the public.  It will be difficult for an Authority stationed in the national capital of New Delhi to effectively administer and regulate the practice in these states.  
Cool   Similar structures such as the Bureau of Indian Standards which formed as National Bodies have failed to meet regularly, deliberate effectively and respond in a timely fashion.  As a result, Indian building codes are revised only once in about 20 years.  The process of responding to changing needs has not taken place in a timely fashion in such organizations.  




I further express my individual opinion in favour of the idea of having a State Govt. Based Authority for the following reasons:


1)   Narrowing the area of influence to an individual state limits the responsibility of the Authority to an area over which it can exercise effective control.  

2)   Different states have different regional languages and this will facilitate some processes being carried out both in the regional as well as in the English Language.

3)   The variation in geology/seismology in a particular state may be taken into account in the way the examination and subjects are chosen for a particular state.

4)   States which are more developed will naturally advance more rapidly in terms of putting processes in place and developing examination and evaluation procedures.  

5)   States with lesser resources and which are slower in responding can upgrade their processes by two simple processes:

a)adoption of the processes developed in similar states

b)confer registration through comity - asking applicants to appear for examination in other similar states where such examinations are held and conferring registration by comity to those who have registered in such other states.  

6)   Meetings at state levels can be held regularly with substantial attendance and the size of the regulatory bodies need not exceed 10 or 12 or such similar number which is more easily managed.

7)   Legitimacy of the process either in the view of other countries or International bodies such as WTO will not be undermined by having a state level regulating Authority.

Cool   It will be possible to introduce limitations that certain key processes may be decided only by consensus or by a three-fourths majority thereby ensuring that .the fundamental objectives of introducing registration is not undermined by perverse opinions which may sometimes gather a simple majority.



L) Would it be advantageous to have registration at even lower levels than State Levels - such as at City/Municipality levels?



In this case again, it would be advantageous to see what the experience of other countries have been in this situation:



1. In the USA, registration is done State Boards and not by local governments.  This has proven successful in introducing a uniform standard of the Practice of Engineering throughout a particular state.



2..  In Australia, there are local governments issuing registrations and this is what the document put out by the Institution of Engineers, Australia, says on its system:
"There are many regulatory and quasi-regulatory regimes maintained by local, State and Territory governments that come into existence because of the absence of a comprehensive registration system for professional engineers. Various government agencies and departments keep their own lists of professional engineers for procurement, certification and employment purposes. These "registers" are largely anti-competitive in nature, as they are usually based on highly subjective and often biased or ill-informed judgement as to who is competent to practice as a professional engineer."



It seems that while a certain degree of diversified registration process is desirable in order to establish comparable standards in different parts of the country, the establishing of independent regulatory authorities at local government level may be counter productive as per the Australian experience.

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