Project Information & Cost Estimation (PRICE) software is a revolutionary initiative of Government of Kerala which aims to unify the work methodology, rates across the state irrespective of Department and Organizations who uses public money for infrastructure works. This software provides systematic guidance and control in administration and execution of infrastructure projects within the frame work of prevailing Government rules, norms and guidelines.
As per of the e-Governance initiatives of Kerala PWD during 2012, the idea for the development of an online platform for the routine work management activities of PWD was originated and the Government vide GO(Rt) No-1482/12/PWD dated 18-8-2012 entrusted the Project Director of Kerala State Transport Project to develop an application software for computerising the estimate preparation, Administrative Sanction , Technical Sanction, tendering, Bill payment etc in PWD under the Institutional Strengthening Action Plan(ISAP) component of KSTP-1. This has culminated the development of software named as PRICE (Project Information and Cost Estimation). The National Informatics Centre- Kerala was entrusted with the development and implementation of PRICE software.
PRICE software is developed as a web based online system in which all processing is being done at the central server and the only need at the client side is an internet browser. The pilot phase of the software with provision of estimate preparation and approvals based on defined workflows and standard data & rates were implemented in Kerala PWD during 2014 and based on its immense response and reliability, the Kerala Government have decided to implement this software for all other engineering departments and Public Sector Undertakings which uses public money for infrastructure creation works. Now, this pilot phase of PRICE software is implemented in eight engineering departments and more than 120 Public Sector undertakings.
During 2017, the second phase development of PRICE software project started at a total cost of Rs.1.4 Crores which includes implementation of all other technical activities like Bill preparation, Work management and project monitoring, e-payment, contractor management, services management , Asset management etc. The pilot phase of PRICE second phase with provisions for asset database, bid document generation, e-measurement, e-bill generation, revised estimate preparation etc were implemented in PWD from 1-6-2019 as PRICE-2.
In order to implement PRICE-2 in all other engineering departments and PSUs, the Government have decided to upgrade the PRICE-2 software to an enterprise level version with more interactive user interfaces. This lead to the development of PRICE-3 , which incorporates all aspect of management of public works right from the receipt of tapals requests for works, to design and estimations, approvals work flows, bidding documents with BoQ, tender approvals with pre-qualifications, work awarding with e-agreements, LoA & site handover, hindrance registers, recast/revised estimates, e-measurements, e-bill, integrations with other software systems like e-Anumathi, e-payments, BAMS, EMLI, BIMS etc. A Contractor portal is also available as part of the PRICE software system , in which contractors can login to view their works and do all work related activities online including contractor licence registration and renewals. The development of a portal for public to avail the different services given by the Department is also progressing.
Even though PRICE software was conceived and developed for use of the Public Works Department, the Government have decided to implement the same for all engineering departments and PSUs which uses public money for infrastructure works. This necessities a structured governing mechanism for the development, management administration of PRICE software and accordingly, Government vide G.O.(Rt)No.976/2019/PWD Dated 06/08/2019 have setup a governing mechanism for PRICE software namely PRICE- Project Management Unit as part of the e-Governance Cell of Kerala PWD. The PRICE PMU is responsible for the development and management of PRICE software in coordination with NIC- Kerala.
The PRICE Software development, implementation and administration is to be managed by a high level Executive Committee at Government level consists of Secretaries and other designated Officials who are directly involved in the administration and management of Public works. Under the High Level Committee, there is a Co-ordination Committee which consists of heads of Engineering Departments, Finance Department, National Informatics Centre Kerala, IT Mission etc. The Project Management Unit will be under the Co-ordination Committee and is responsible for the day to day management of development and implementation aspects related to PRICE software.
The new version of PRICE software has provisions for capturing all information related to infrastructure assets pertains to the Department like roads, bridges, culverts, buildings etc. Based on the asset details, asset register is formed. While creating maintenance estimates on existing assets, the system captures and tags the asset information also with estimates and tracks the works on each specific asset types. This ensures accountability as the time series details of works done on a particular asset is available over a period of time. Assets details can be added, edited or deleted based on user privileges and approval workflows. The asset details can be geo-coded so that the details can be displayed over a GIS map. Dashboard view of assets is also available with drill down reports depending upon the official hierarchy level.
The new PRICE-3 software implementation is based on the work file concept and approvals are based on the existing official hierarchy workflow in which all office procedures and delegation of powers are incorporated. When a request for work is received in any higher level office, the same can be endorsed to the concerned lower level offices online and hence the status of such endorsements can be monitored at any level. Work files can be created at the Section level offices and all later activities related to the particular work/project can be placed in the work file. This concept is in line with the e-office file concept , but strict adherence to the official workflow is maintained for each activity in PRICE-3 file system. By the implementation of the new file concept and office file management system in PRICE-3, a huge reduction in paper usage and physical file storage space for all engineering offices will be accomplished. Controlled access with ease of search is another highlight of the File Management system in PRICE-3.
The module envisages a complete e-platform solution for the management of all public works from the stage of request, Preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) including estimate preparation, online approvals for administrative sanction and technical sanction, generation of bid document, tendering and tender approval, award of work and agreement generation, site handover, recast and revised estimates and its approvals with supplementary agreement generation, measurement book, Bill preparation, Bill payment etc. Project monitoring is also envisaged as part of this.
Quality management systems will manage, control and maintain accurate quality processes and documentation in order to align their practices with standards established. It will accelerate and automate all the essential quality control processes.
All public works of the Government are executed through contractors and hence it is envisaged to provide an online platform for all Government Contractors for their interactions with Departments. As a first step towards this, a Contractor's portal is developed for providing services like contractor registration, Apply online for New, renewal and upgrade of Licence, its approval workflow with e-mail and sms messaging facility to all stakeholders. Information of submitted tenders and its status with the department, submission of documents, work order acceptance, information of works pertaining to a contractor with current status and e-payment facility for remittance of fees are available in CP. Remittance of various types of guarantees and securities are also envisaged to be made online subsequently. Agreement execution in e-stamp paper, online issue of work order, site handover etc will also be part of this.
The Public Works Department renders different types of certificates and permissions like rent fixation certificates, fitness certificates, road cutting permissions, survey reports, valuation of assets, sweeping area certificates etc to other agencies, departments or common public. It is envisaged to provide an online platform for such services. A public interface is planned for submitting applications for such services. The applications received for such services will be processed through the internal workflow of PRICE and results will be intimated to the public portal with e-mail and sms alerts.