The Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, addressed the media as the Government of India officially announced the launch of the country’s first ever Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) portal on April 21st, 2018. Operating as a branch of Alternative Dispute Resolution, the introduction of ODR could boost and expedite the process of dispute resolution in the construction industry. Also known as Internet Electronic Dispute Resolution, ODR is considered as a viable solution for Internet related disputes, especially the ones that are cross-country in nature and are excessively cost-ineffective. Its inauguration can go a long way in resolving these disputes, attracting more foreign investment on the way.
The latest dispute resolving mechanism makes use of technology and software to solve disputes over the web which, otherwise, take months before the parties reach the stage of settlement. In the current scenario, many projects in the Construction Industry often face interruptions through delays and cost-overruns. According to the official figures reported by the Ministry of Statistics, more than 295 projects have faced delays in recent years. With the worth of these delayed projects exceeding INR 150 crore, the cost overruns have exceeded INR 1 lakh crore as well. Taking these strikingly alarming statistics under consideration, the ODR portal has been launched.
The newly introduced ODR portal will work in line with many procedures, such as Automated Negotiation and Assisted Negotiation. The former is a method which is designed and structured to ascertain the economic settlements for claims in which liability is not challenged. In Assisted Negotiation, technology only assists the negotiation process between the litigants, instead of taking over the process entirely.
While inaugurating the first National Conference on “Online Dispute Resolution Mechanism” organized by Construction Industry Arbitration Council (CIAC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Shri Venkaiah Naidu lauded the initiative and said the CIAC has been in close touch with the United Nations Commission on matters relating to international trade and law. He further stated that domestic and international trade has stirred competition providing more opportunities and imputed risks in the process. He has also praised the measures taken by Ministry of Law Justice to initiate Online Dispute Resolution through mediation, arbitration and conciliation.
The successful launch of India’s maiden online portal for dispute resolution has helped the country establish itself as the first nation across the globe to establish an online portal to resolve all types of disputes. Shri Akhilesh Srivastava, CGM (IT & Operations), NHAI, has played a major part in the successful development of this project. The ODR is thoroughly conceived, designed and developed by him. Having already developed and implemented e-Tendering and e-MB for automation of measurements of work executed on ground, he is determined to leave his mark in the Construction Industry as well. The ODR portal introduced by him will provide a timely resolution at minimum by maintaining transparency through a panel of expert CIAC arbitrators online.