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Demystifying the Public Procurement Bill

Public procurement in India accounts for close to 30% of India’s GDP. This is a whopping figure and hence a major area that went ignored for too long. The government has rightly taken a call to give it a strategic importance rather than considering it as an administrative process. Hence, today we witness non-traditional methods of procurement, focus on e-governance and e-Procurement increasingly being adopted by government.

What are the objectives of Public Procurement Bill?

The Public Procurement Bill stands on six pillars – accountability, ethics, impartiality, professionalism, service and transparency. The objectives of Public Procurement Bill are to ensure

•  Transparency & accountability in the procurement process
•  Fair and equitable treatment of bidders
•  Promotion of competition
•  Enhancement in efficiency & economy
•  Integrity & public confidence

Who all are covered under Public Procurement Bill?

•   Any Ministry or Department of Central Government including their attached or subordinate offices.
•   CPSEs controlled by Central Govt.
•   Any company in which more than 50% of paid up share capital is held by Govt. or Govt. owned companies.
•   Any body established/constituted by Parliament where expenditures are met from the Consolidated Fund of India.
•   Any body/board/corporation/authority/society/trust or autonomous body constituted by an Act of Parliament or owned/controlled by GoI.
•   Any other entity, which the Central Govt., by notification, specifies to be a procuring entity.

What are the new trends in Public Procurement?

There is a growing need for efficient & corruption free management of public resources. It is widely believed that public procurement can serve as an instrument to bring economical, social and environmental change. India is gearing up to adhere to global standards for a corruption free procurement process.

What are the challenges for government?

Government needs to identify and articulate objectives with clarity for all the procurement units under its realm. It needs to enable data and information sharing across various government departments to efficiently evolve the procurement process. Why is it that one government department procures the same raw material at a different price than other? Why is there no data sharing?

Moreover, there is no denying to the fact that there is scarcity of talent in this domain and the same needs to be addressed. Government needs to build capacity and model code of conduct. And, with Procurement named as the 7th fastest growing and paying profession in India by Business Insider 2013, future looks promising.

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