Need for a robust and transparent Public Procurement Policy in India: CUTS

Chandigarh, September 11, 2014
“India needs not only a National Public Procurement Policy (NPPP) but also a system oriented, objective and transparent procurement policy. Such a policy will help government officials to take quick and good procurement decisions but also encourage suppliers to get engaged with the public procurement system more and more”, said Kumar Rahul, IAS, General Manager, Food Corporation of India (FCI), Punjab. He was speaking at a stakeholder consultation meeting on “National Public Procurement Policy,” organised by CUTS International in association with PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chandigarh. Sharing his experience, Kumar said that in absence of such a policy framework, malpractices, and inability to take good decisions become prevalent and thereby hurt the efficiency of procurement system. Not only National Public Procurement policy will encourage good procurement decisions but also ensure proper checks and balances.

“There is neither a formal Public Procurement Policy nor a law in India. There is pressing need for both, as rules without law lack enforceability and law without policy support suffers from a lack of coherent justification or rationale for the provisions made”, said Archana Jatkar, Coordinator and Deputy Head, CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economic and Environment. She presented on the need of promulgating National Public Procurement Policy and the imperative of such policy. This meeting was organised under project being implemented by CUTS and titled as National Public Procurement Policy of India (NPPPI) with support from the British High Commission.

In her presentation, Jatkar argued that the public procurement Bill that was tabled in the parliament in 2012 has lapsed with the 15thParliament being dissolved in May 2014. The Bill was largely based on General Financial Rules (GFR) 2005 and the policy to fulfil social objectives through offsets was also more clearly spelt out in that bill but with its lapse it is now for the government to reinvent the will. It is time for policy to precede the law and encourage the participation of SMEs, moving to green and sustainable procurement, incorporate mechanisms to benefit disadvantaged class on the one hand and stabilise macro-economic indicators such as fiscal policy, manufacturing policy, competition policy and trade policy vis-à-vis public procurement . She noted further.

L.K. Mehta, Sc.E/Director (HRBO), Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), highlighted the BIS role in public procurement. He enumerated various stages in public procurement wherein BIS plays an effective role mainly in technical bids. He emphasised that India needs a robust public procurement policy and further emphasised BIS role particularly in sustainable public procurement. He further articulated on creating awareness on usage of standard products and standardisation in general by the procuring entity so as to ensure quality.

Advocating the need for a NPPP in place, Dalip Sharma, Director, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while speaking on the occasion, stressed on the policy coherency of public procurement policy with other major economic policies such as manufacturing policy, sustainable procurement and Trade Policy. “Procurement process in India should aim at stimulating local manufacturing capacities and employment, promote competition in the marketplace, adhere to good fiscal practices and promote sustainable production and consumption practices”, added Sharma. Hargunjit Kaur, Joint Secretary, Food & Supplies department, Punjab was also present on the occasion.

The consultation meeting was attended by over 35 participants from various government departments, PSUs such as ONGC, business enterprises and other relevant stakeholders.

For more information, please contact:
Archana Jatkar, +91(0)9928207628,
Surendar Singh,+91-7023988286,
Prashant Sharma, +91-9887260170,