eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

NIC Come Forward to ensure Public Fund Trusteeship, investigate on current e-Tendering

Posted by egovindia on January 21, 2007

Dear egovINDIA Group Members,

It is a very serious concern on our serious efforts towards bringing in e-Governance to its Best Form in India. Bangalore One and a lot others, the main Culprit is being our Tendering Procedure, let us first investigate if our e-Governance initiative in its first stage of e-Procurement is appropriate or If We are Plinthing the Curruption Tower by way of e-Governance (e-Tendering).

“Does E-tendering is to fool the state, rob the people and go scot free.”

The functioning of the state is based on a strong process of checks and balances. This ensures that the state never makes prejudiced decisions.  This also ensures that the dealings of the state are always free, fair and transparent.

One process of the state is procurement.  The state is rarely subject to economic cycles of recession.  Even when the rest of the economy is reeling under recession, the state is still buying.  The procurement activity of the state is strictly guided by procedures such as tendering.  The process of tendering ensures that the state gets the best deal at the same time as allowing all qualified businesses to bid.

In the process of becoming all pervasive, information technology did not take long to come up with an eprocurement application.  The eprocurement applications targetted to the states procurement requirements are also known as eTendering applications.

Leveraging information technology for the states procurement process is a good thing.  It results in all the well known benefits of arising from application of information technology, lowered costs, increased efficiency, faster decision cycles, paperless, and so on.

But there are two important clauses of the tendering process.  All bids must be submitted in sealed envelopes, which are opened in presence of the participating bidders.  The wisdom of this is obvious.  The state cannot favour any particular bidder.  All the pages on the bids must be signed.  Again, the wisdom is obvious.  A page with a signature at the bottom gives essential legal sanctity to the document, and ties the signer with the statements on that page.

These were the hurdle seen by honest people, both in the government and in the solution provider space, in introducing information technology in the tendering process.  With efforts of these people, the parliament passed the Information Technology Act, 2000 on 9th June 2000.

In words of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (http://cca.gov.in):

Creating trust in electronic environment involves assuring the transacting parties about the integrity and confidentiality of the content of documents along with authentication of the sending and receiving parties in a manner that ensures that both the parties cannot repudiate the transaction. The paper based concepts of identification, declaration and proof are carried through the use of digital signatures in electronic environment. Digital signatures, a form of electronic signatures, are created and verified using Public Key Cryptography that is based on the concept of a key pair generated by a mathematical algorithm, the public and private keys.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides the required legal sanctity to the digital signatures based on asymmetric cryptosystems. The digital signatures are now accepted at par with handwritten signatures and the electronic documents that have been digitally signed are treated at par with paper documents.

With the passage of the IT Act, 2000, etendering could become a reality in this country.  Since the provisions of the act could be applied to the two important clauses of tendering.  The electronic bids could now be signed as well as sealed.

In absence of these measures, the following things could happen:

The bids submitted by a bidder could be viewed, by anyone who has access to the system where the bids are stored.  This is more incriminating the service provider rather than the state.  The service provider could have a nexus with a bidder to ensure that the bidder could get a report on who submitted which bid.
The bids submitted by a bidder could be modified.  This also incriminates the service provider more that it does the state.  The service provider could change the bid of a bidder.
A bidder can claim that the bid he submitted is not the bid being viewed, meaning that his bid was tampered with afte he submitted it.  This allegation, whether real or not, would jeopardise the careers of many honest state employees at the same time create ripples in the political arena.

If we look at the scale of procurement by the state, we will see figures like Rs. 15,000 crores in about 2 years.    Calculate, if you can, 1% of 15,000 crores.  Now all those who feel that the services providers of etendering applications not using digital certificates, and all their employees, were completely ethical at all times, raise your hands.

We need to get a full scale investigation and audit on all the tenders processed through all the etendering application which did not use digital certificates.

The state was definitely fooled, but if the people were robbed, the robbers should not get away scot free.

Please also refer my earlier postings on the same subject and be transparent to comment, i`m ready to rectify me if shared more lights on the subject, but it is of very serious concern to our Nation and Growth ( Just by purifying our Public Procurement System we can graduate to 4 times of our current Growth pattern ).

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One Response to “NIC Come Forward to ensure Public Fund Trusteeship, investigate on current e-Tendering”

  1. ets7 said

    YES! “E-tendering is to fool the state, rob the people and go scot free”
    The Live example is PWD Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

    Regarding Madhya Pradesh e- procurement project I can say that it is a bundle of irregularities and corruption and a CBI Inquiry needs to be done. This will also disclose the nexus between government officers and IT companies. Huge irregularity has taken place in M.P. e-tendering/ procurement tender. I also believe that it is high time that Hon’ble Supreme Court/ Lokayukt should interfere and take a suo moto decision. If Hon’ble Supreme Court/ Lokayukt/ takes some decision certainly there will a lot of people who would come forward and expose this corrupt nexus.
    It is very surprising how can Monopoly be given to do e-tendering to a single company. Isn’t this a unfair trade practice? Is ministry of company affairs reading this?
    government of madhya Pradesh is promoting corruption through this system. Somebody must come forward and file a PIl against this e-tendering system. this project is awarded against 2 tenders which is absolutely unethical wheredas more than 5 recognized players are available in India. What and who stopped them to participate in the tender of e-tendering published by MAP_IT needs to be probed by CBI.
    If Hon’ble chief Minister and chief Secretary of the state do not order an inquiry against this project. It will be assumed they are also involved in this irregularity and are deliberately overlooking serious irregularity commited in this tender. Shame on BJP government for promoting and mentoring this type of corrupt practices.
    E-Tendering / procurement is adopted to bring transparency, provide equal opportunity, arrest cartel formation and eradicate corruption. and surprisingly all of the above objectives have been outrightly violated in this tender.
    I request all who can stand up against this corruption/ irregularity to come forward. You will see a lot of people joining you.
    Please save Madhya Pradesh (Heart of India) from this evil forces. Whoever loves his country and state should come forward and protest.
    I think this is the same company who is involved in unfair trade practices by quoting different price to different governments for the same product/ project to curb competition. this is typical case for MCA. different price for PWD chhattisgarh, Assam, MCD and Madhya Pradesh.
    How can this type of thing happpen in year 2007 with RTI in place. I suggest file RTI in all the above government department and then take legal action. I will also write to goverment on this unfair trade practice. Let’s be a part of this movement. Free corruption from e-procurement projects.
    What is the harm in CBI inquiry let the truth come out. e-procurement in madhya pradesh was always in controversy. particularly bidders were not allowed to participate by putting restrictive criteria and by increasing EMD and document fee by 10 times. It seems the officer incharge is certainly involved in this. lokayukt must start an investigation if not CBI or best would be a Public Interst litigation in Supreme Court against MAP_IT department for promoting unfair trade practice and encouraging monopoly.

    I am sure if a neutral inquiry is ordered some very serious corrupt practices and nexus will be exposed.

    Let’s see who bells the cat first?

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