Petition for Engineers Bill

The engineering profession is one of the oldest in the story of civilization, having started as soon as man quenched his thirst, satiated his hunger and looked at making an abode for himself and his family. It is then that he commenced on the built environment.

From its humble beginning engineering has come a long way and we have ventured into space. However, what is the status of the engineers? They still remain the silent lot, serving and contributing to the sustained development of the nation. The engineering profession is still not legally recognised or properly regulated by any legislation or statute unlike other major professions -chartered accountants, company secretaries, lawyers, doctors, et al.

Why are the professional engineers being differentiated when so many other professions have been regulated by acts of Parliament?

We need an Engineers Bill to accord a legal status to the lakhs of persons in the engineering profession. The issue has been blowing hot and cold for decades and needs to be brought to a successful closure.

The contribution of engineers in any facet of development of the country are the maximum. There is therefore, an urgent need for a centralised regulatory authority which can permit the use of the title and style of “Engineer” in the country.

Failures of buildings, system failures in plants, blasts, leaks, etc. plus natural disasters occur and are reported. The government must wake up to the urgency of the Engineers Bill and obviate the occurrences mentioned above to the maximum extent.

With projects worth trillions of rupees in the pipe line the government must act so that they are all in the hands of persons from the engineering profession whose bona fides are established, have demonstrated capabilities and function under a properly regulated and legally recognized body as per the Engineers Bill.

The Engineers Bill is a must to make the engineering professionals accountable plus allow them to practice independently and responsibly without any hindrance from other sources plus continuously upgrade professional knowledge and demonstrate that in practice. It is the practicing engineers who can mentor to ensure that country would never be wanting for well trained and capable engineers.

Many countries already have such requirements – Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Quebec (Canada), Queensland (Australia), Republic of South Africa, Singapore, South Korea, Tanzania and USA. Why is India still lagging behind?

Let the Government of India take a cue from the legislation that Gujarat enacted – the ‘Gujarat Professional Civil Engineers Act, 2006, in wake of the Bhuj earthquake. Although the Act involved regulating only the professional civil engineers in the state but it is the first in the country. The other disciplines of engineering still need to be covered so that they all practice with equal degree of responsibility and accountability.

A Central Act, like for other professions, is a must to regulate all disciplines of engineering. Just one registration would then suffice for practicing throughout India.

The Engineers Bill has been in the offing for years, but still has to see the light of day. It is only this legislation which will bring in accountability, ethical dealing and professionalism.

It is also essential to obviate unnecessary situations which develop whenever any untoward event occurs and the engineers are summarily held responsible without any investigation and inquiry.

The Engineering Council of India (ECI) was formed with one of its aims being to have an Engineers Bill passed. ECI in consonance with its members prepared a draft of Engineers’ Bill and submitted it to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in September 2004. A revised consensus draft was submitted in May 2007. Associations and institutions looking after the interests of practicing professional engineers are all supportive of the above.

The draft Engineers Bill is pending with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, and they must process it on a speedy basis and introduce it as one of the principal legislations.

The Engineers Bill must be taken up as top priority to ensure that all the infrastructural development is executed by engineers who are under a regulatory structure. That will also generate massive confidence in the international community and investors.

The capabilities of Indian engineers are being recognised more and more globally but a lot needs to be done to systematise the profession and make it sustainable and truly world class. Then Indian engineers and engineering capabilities will spread across the globe. The opportunities for them are enormous.

The ENGINEERS BILL is the sine qua non for professional engineering to grow and fortify India’s vision of a strong and developed nation.

Engineer and Build India