Ensure transparency in FCS&CA Deptt

To put it in real perspective , there have been umpteen occasions when ‘many rats were smelt’ sporadically but confirmed later that really there were series of irregularities and manipulations resorted to in Department of Food , Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs which have even been detected notwithstanding the fact whether the perpetrators and those involved were duly punished including having recovered from them the actual loss suffered caused to the State exchequer due to various omissions and commissions.However, since there is huge deficiency in respect of transparency and accountability in this department, Government has cancelled tendering process for hiring of transport for carriage of food grains to different parts of Jammu division. This is a welcome step though taken belatedly and is by all possible accounts, aimed at pre-empting another suspected irregularity otherwise in the offing which was aimed at for considerations entirely extraneous to the usual exercise.
This act by the Government was ostensibly as a fallout of specific information and tangible grounds that there were serious flaws wilfully heaped on the exercise. The Administrative Department is reported to have been receiving complaints from not only one quarter but different ones regarding the allotment process of the tender and ‘rebate’ offered by the lowest bidder. It may be recalled that a few months back, mismanagement and irregularities of ‘serious nature’ were reported in audit reports regarding movement of food grains through trucks etc involving substantial amount which by all counts, was nothing less than a major scam. Despite repeated reminders from Accountant General’s Office to the Director Department of Food and Civil Supplies for replying the points in the audit report, we do not appear to be in know of any action having been taken in the matter so far. Accordingly, tendering process having been cancelled by the Government, the department is advised to follow the guidelinesof the Department of Expenditure of Union Ministry of Finance.
In fact, a Committee was constituted by the competent authority who noticed several flaws and irregularities in the tendering process which was therefore the concrete ground for complaints having poured in. The moot question is as to when there are specific instructions for adhering to on-line procedures with intent to avoid human inter-face for hiring of transport for carrying food grains , deliberately the concerned authorities had kept most of the components off- line for obvious reasons but duly and fully known to them. Under one or the other pretext, facilitating entry of those who participated in the tendering process on manufactured grounds, doubts about the motive were genuinely not only getting sprouted but creating suspicion and apprehensions of promoting underhand means and thus defeating the purpose of e-tendering procedure could not be overruled.
There should be not only consistency in adhering to the revised guidelines issued by the Government in respect of tendering exercise but all steps needed to be taken to make the entire system increasingly transparent. Department of Food and Civil Supplies needs to be over cautious in this regard while competent authorities should closely monitor such critical activities and take action against those who believed that by chucking procedures and revised guidelines into dustbin of insubordination, they could remain untouched let alone punished. By all means, therefore, e-procurement guidelines of the Department of Expenditure of Union Ministry of Finance must be ensured to be strictly followed, in letter andin spirit.