Transforming Public Sector Efficiency: An Exclusive Interview with Sanjeev Kumar, CMD, TCIL

In an exclusive interview with ilouge Media, Shri Sanjeev Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), shares insights into how the company has leveraged its expertise in telecommunications, civil engineering, and IT to drive infrastructure and technology development both in India and globally. Kumar discusses TCIL’s recent financial achievements, transformative strategies, and the organization’s pivotal role in advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He also highlights the challenges of implementing government policies, the importance of stakeholder engagement, and provides a compelling message for Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) on transforming into global powerhouses.

1. How has TCIL, as a prime engineering and consultancy company, leveraged its expertise in telecommunications, civil engineering, and IT to contribute to the development of infrastructure and technology in both India and worldwide?

TCIL considers its primary role as customer solution/benefit provider. To achieve that TCIL evaluates and implements the technical solution in the most cost-effective manner keeping in mind the requirements of the client. As a Government master system integrator, the focus area of TCIL has been to stitch solutions in such a manner so as to maximize the utilization of indigenously developed products without compromising profitability and quality of the project. This is particularly important to break any sort of cartelization in the industry. With this trademark style TCIL recently won prestigious Data Center Project of Indian Coast Guard with a total project value of INR 5.88 billion. In this project indigenously developed products were quoted by TCIL unlike other bidders, leading to a gap of around INR 4 Billion with the L2 bidder and a significant saving for the exchequer.

TCIL has played a significant role in advancing infrastructure and technology in India and globally by leveraging its expertise in telecommunications, civil engineering, and IT.

  1. Telecommunications Infrastructure Development: TCIL has been involved in the planning, design, and implementation of telecommunications infrastructure, including laying optical fiber networks, establishing telecom towers, and deploying communication networks. By providing expertise in this area, TCIL has helped to expand connectivity in remote and underserved areas, facilitating economic development and social inclusion.
  2. Consultancy Services: TCIL offers consultancy services in various areas such as telecom policy formulation, project management, and technology deployment. Its consultancy services have been utilized by governments, telecom operators, and organizations worldwide to develop strategies, optimize resources, and improve operational efficiency in the telecommunications sector.
  3. International Projects: TCIL has undertaken projects in several countries, contributing to the development of telecommunications infrastructure and IT systems globally. These projects often involve collaboration with international agencies, governments, and local partners to enhance connectivity, bridge the digital divide, and promote economic growth.
  4. Civil Engineering Expertise: TCIL’s civil engineering expertise extends beyond telecommunications to encompass infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and buildings. By leveraging its civil engineering capabilities, TCIL contributes to the development of physical infrastructure that supports economic activities and enhances the quality of life for people.
  5. Technology Integration: TCIL integrates IT solutions with telecommunications infrastructure to deliver innovative services and applications. This includes deploying smart city solutions, digital platforms, and e-governance systems that improve efficiency, transparency, and accessibility of public services.
  6. Capacity Building: TCIL provides training and capacity building programs to empower local communities, government officials, and industry professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to manage and maintain telecommunications and IT infrastructure effectively.

Overall, TCIL’s multidisciplinary approach and diverse portfolio of services have positioned it as a key player in driving infrastructure and technology development, both in India and internationally. By combining its expertise in telecommunications, civil engineering, and IT, TCIL continues to make significant contributions to the advancement of global connectivity and digital transformation.

2. We’ve also learnt that under your leadership, the company did a turnover of Rs 2,600 Cr recently. Please enlighten us about the same? What kind of execution strategies are you anticipating and what revenue guidance will be provided for this fiscal year?

Yes. TCIL achieved its highest-ever turnover of Rs 2603 Crores in the financial year 2023-24, representing a remarkable 30% increase over the previous year. Last year the improvement in turnover was almost 25%. Profitability has also doubled from an EPS of Rs. 5.99 to Rs. 12.39 in FY 2023-24. The improvement in financial performance is merely an indicator of structural changes we have introduced in TCIL. TCIL has witnessed a series of transformative initiatives and reforms, aimed at fostering transparency, efficiency, and accountability across the organization. A Snapshot of key changes are given below:

  1. Introduced Vendor charter for ensuring payment to vendors and resolving their grievances in targeted time.
  2. Brought transparency in decision making and a work culture of accountability.
  3. Introduced e-office system in TCIL.
  4. A new ERP system has been implemented recently in TCIL.
  5. Delegation of financial power and autonomy in decision making up to junior level officers, linked with revenue and profitability targets. TCIL is a project organisation and competitively participates in various opportunities to acquire business & engages with suppliers/vendors/system integrators for implementation.
  6. Implemented HR Manual in TCIL in 2021 and introduced various reforms in HR like
    • Organization restructuring
    • Merit-cum-Seniority based promotion for executives at E5 and above, allowing faster career growth to competent persons. Introduced presentation cum interview system in promotion by a panel of internal and external experts.
    • Introduced new Performance Management System by linking their performance to Revenue, profitability, timely project execution etc.
    • Employee charter to handle their grievances in time bound manner.
    • DPC for promotion is now done in advance for vacancy of next calendar year, thus giving promotion to employees as soon as vacancy arise unlike past where DPC used to happen after a lot of delay post vacancy.
  7. Standardized procurement process and introduced procurement manual for faster procurement process and remove subjectivity in tendering process.
  8. Carried out Business Process Re-engineering for bringing efficiency in decision making and improving productivity.
  9. Started training of the employees keeping in view with Business Objective and undertook major initiative for training of employees in new technology areas.
    Diversified TCIL Business to new technology areas like Data Centre, Cyber Security, Smart/Virtual Class solutions, e-Health, CCTV Surveillance, AI/Video Analytics and Green energy initiatives etc.
  10. A policy for reward and recognition framed for best performer(s).

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in implementing government policies and programs?

TCIL has never been part of rat race for profit making and has always prioritized the National Interests above anything. There are no challenges in implementing the government policies and programs, however there is a great need of more technology solutions which are indigenously developed to counter any sort of cartelisation by existing technology giants without compromising the quality. India is steadily advancing towards Atamnirbhar Bharat and we are confident that TCII shall play its part with utmost sincerity.

4. How do you engage with stakeholders, including citizens, civil society organizations, and private sector partners?

The engagement of TCIL with various stakeholders has been based on basic principles of Trust and Transparency. We have established strong partnerships and collaborations with local companies, organizations, and experts in India and abroad. These alliances enable us to tap into local resources, networks, and market insights, giving us a competitive advantage over companies without similar local connections.

TCIL engagement with citizens is through the project implemented for benefit of citizens like e-education, e-health, surveillance systems, ITMS etc. While implementing these projects for socio-economic benefit and safety/security of citizens, we try to ensure that project being implemented by us fulfils its objective to its fullest.

We engage stakeholders, including civil society organizations, through open communication channels such as public meetings, forums, and social media. Actively listening to their concerns and feedback helps us understand their perspectives and priorities, fostering trust and constructive relationships. We prioritize inclusivity, involving diverse stakeholders to ensure all voices are heard. Transparency and accountability are central to our approach, providing timely information and being responsive to inquiries.

As far as engagement with private sector partners is concerned, the relationship with our vendors has improved in recent past. Several Structural changes have been carried by the TCIL management clearly defining the delegation of powers to fast track the decision-making process. Vendor Charter has been prepared for timely resolution of the vendor issues. Standard templates have been designed and approved for facilitating faster and smoother operations. TCIL has adopted automation, digitization, and standardization by implementing the ERP and E-Office to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency.

5. What role do you see your organization playing in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Our organization plays a crucial role in contributing to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through various initiatives and projects.

Specifically, our efforts focus on areas where we can make the most impact, such as promoting access to quality education, health care system ensuring gender equality and empowerment, fostering sustainable economic growth, advancing environmental sustainability. TCIL is actively working in the areas of Education and Health as priority focus areas. TCIL has actively implemented various strategically important education projects in remote areas of Uttarakhand and Odisha. While implementing various projects, TCIL ensures that no damage is done to environment.

Through partnerships with governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, we work towards implementing sustainable development practices and innovative solutions that create positive and lasting change. By integrating the principles of sustainability into our operations and projects, we contribute to building a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for all, in line with the objectives of the SDGs.

6. As one of the key experts in the industry, what message would you like to convey to PSUs, which can help them transform into Global Powerhouses?

My message to Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) is clear, harness the power of technology to drive transformation, always keep focus on customer interests, embrace innovation, agility, & global best practices to transform into global powerhouse.

Leverage technology as a catalyst for innovation. Invest in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to enhance operational efficiency, develop innovative products and services, and stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market landscape.

Prioritize innovation across all aspects of operations. Invest in research and development to create cutting-edge products and services that meet evolving market demands. Encourage a culture of creativity and experimentation to foster continuous improvement and stay ahead of the competition.

Adopt an agile mindset and organizational structure. Streamline decision-making processes, reduce bureaucracy, and empower employees to take ownership of their work. Embrace flexibility and adaptability to respond quickly to market changes and seize new opportunities.

Benchmark against global best practices. Study successful companies in your industry and beyond to identify strategies and tactics that can be applied to your own organization. Learn from both successes and failures to refine your approach and drive sustainable growth.

Lastly, focus on building a strong brand reputation and establishing trust with customers, partners, and stakeholders. Demonstrate integrity, transparency, and accountability in all your dealings. Invest in corporate social responsibility initiatives to create positive social impact and enhance your company’s reputation.

By embracing Technology. Innovation, agility, global best practices, and a commitment to excellence, PSUs can position themselves as leaders in their industries and compete effectively on the global stage. The journey towards becoming a global powerhouse requires dedication, vision, and perseverance, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

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