‘Trans­parency must in pro­cure­ment pol­icy’

Fo­cus on evolv­ing a frame­work to weed out var­i­ous forms of cor­rup­tion in pub­lic pro­cure­ment

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - METRO - Anil Ku­mar

PATNA: Vig­i­lance depart­ment prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary Ashok Ku­mar Chauhan on Satur­day said that in wake of Bi­har’s zero tol­er­ance pol­icy to­wards cor­rup­tion, a vi­able low cost strat­egy was re­quired to en­sure in­tegrity in pub­lic pro­cure­ments.

He said, it is here that the In­tegrity Pact (IP), de­vel­oped by Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional, could be in­tro­duced as an ef­fec­tive tool in the pro­posed pro­cure­ment pol­icy to cut down cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment pur­chases.

Speak­ing at a group dis­cus­sion on ‘En­hanc­ing Frame­works for Trans­par­ent Frame­works for trans­par­ent pub­lic Pro­cure­ment: In­tegrity Pact’, Chauhan said, “Cor­rup­tion is a multi-faceted and com­plex so­cioe­co­nomic prob­lem. It re­quires a sus­tain­able, durable and mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary frame­work to deal with pub­lic pro­cure­ment is­sues.”

With gov­ern­ment be­ing the largest pro­curer, it is im­por­tant to en­sure that in­stances like the fod­der scam (es­sen­tially re­lated to pro­cure­ment) do not take place. “We will try to con­vince de­part­ments to adopt the IP and mod­ernise pro­cure­ment laws, us­ing elec­tronic prin­ci­ples to in­tro­duce trans­parency, fight col­lu­sion, pre­vent bid rig­ging, carteli­sa­tion and elim­i­nate dis­cre­tionary pow­ers from the process,” he said.

Chauhan said, in a court of law it of­ten be­comes dif­fi­cult to prove com­plic­ity and also pin­point what had gone wrong in pro­cure­ment, one rea­son why the fod­der scam is still drag­ging on. “Till now we have been deal­ing with the de­mand side of cor­rup­tion not the sup­ply side (why money is be­ing of­fered at all). “While the Cen­tre is seized with tack­ling the sup­ply side of cor­rup­tion, IP can be use­ful, as it is bind­ing on the pro­curer and bid­ders,” he said.

Chair­man of Bi­har Elec­tric­ity Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion, UN Pan­jiar, said IP pro­vides a level of com­fort to the pro­curer and ven­dor, im­proves the im­age of the in­sti­tu­tion, re­duces false and friv­o­lous com­plaints and im­proves com­pet­i­tive­ness. But while min­istry of de­fence and 44 cen­tral PSUs have adopted it, state gov­ern­ment PSUs are lag­ging be­hind. State de­part­ments should in­clude them in their pro­cure­ment man­ual, he said.

“I be­long to the elec­tric­ity sec­tor, which is also one of the largest pro­cur­ers of equip­ment and spares. It is im­por­tant to in­tro­duce IP, which, in turn, will help con­sumers to get power at lower tar­iffs,” he ex­plained.

Prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary, health Vyasji said, his depart­ment, which was into procur­ing ser­vices, faced the prob­lem of how to eval­u­ate goods and ser­vices from the user point of view. “With the prob­lem re­lated to qual­ity and de­liv­ery of ser­vices at the right price, the ques­tion is how to en­sure that IP works in favour of peo­ple,” he said.

PS Bawa, chair­man, Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional In­dia, while re­spond­ing to the sug­ges­tion for its in­tro­duc­tion in the pri­vate sec­tor, said “We are try­ing to rope them in. We will amend it slightly to tai­lor the suit­abil­ity of IP for them.” Till then, Bi­har should take a pi­o­neer­ing step in adopt­ing it and set an ex­am­ple for other states, he said.

Ashutosh Ku­mar Mishra, di­rec­tor, TII, gave a de­tailed pre­sen­ta­tion and replied to the queries raised by the par­tic­i­pants.

(From left) Vig­i­lance dept prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary AK Chauhan, TII chair­man PS Bawa and BERC chair­man UN Pan­jiar at a meet­ing, in Patna on Satur­day.

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