Union Finance Ministry’s “e-procurement” guidelines

With a view to bringing about more transparency and probity in all Government purchases and works in Jammu and Kashmir, e- procurement guidelines of the Department of Expenditure of Union Finance Ministry shall have to be meticulously followed. The much desired step has been initiated following intervention of Department of Jammu and Kashmir Affairs in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and accordingly, Financial Commissioner, Finance Department has issued instructions to all concerned Heads of Departments and all Administrative Secretaries to follow the instructions in letter and in spirit.
Jammu and Kashmir needed such an already existing arrangement prevalent in other States which now stands extended to this part of the country with the only motive of bringing about translucency and limpidity in issues involving expenditures on procurements and necessary purchases by the State Government. With a fixed aim of preventing frauds, wastages, corruption and corrupt practices and avoiding even local protectionism coupled with doing away with sub-standard and spurious material , there are set procedures and guidelines to regulate Government purchases and works which e-procurement guidelines are fully taking care of.
Government procurement is not to be seen excepting on macro basis which if translated into the percentage of the GDP spent, means a lot -hence the need to strictly regulate such expenditures. Every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir would welcome and appreciate the new guidelines looking to the prevalent scourge of corruption in administrative system but these guidelines must be doubly ensured being implemented strictly . There are however, exceptions to these rules where they could be either surpassed or modified depending upon on individual cases and their relation in terms of the permissible flexibility but under the permission of the competent authority only. For example, in individual cases where national security and strategic considerations laced with confidentiality are involved, exemption from e-procurement guidelines could be considered. However, far flung areas and inaccessible places could continue to be exempted with respect to e-procurement as prescribed from time to time only because of poor internet connectivity and when the same would be improved and made fully functional, an imminent review of exemption could be on the cards.
Under revised guidelines, all bids are to be received through the specific e- procurement portals by the Government departments as regards all procurements.
Since very high financial turnover and complexities of procurement processes provide for a wider scope for business enterprises supplying such input goods, to interact with politicians and bureaucrats, element of high degree corruption and kick backs cannot be overruled. As per available data, highest percentage of bribery takes place to influence placing of orders and floating of conventional tenders . To pre-empt and obfuscate such practices , all Government purchases and works in Jammu and Kashmir have been brought under the ambit of e-procurement guidelines. The purchase through Government e-market place (GeM) portal shall be utilized by the Government buyers for direct on -line purchases up to Rs. 50000 . The different ceilings above Rs.50000 to Rs.30 lakhs and beyond are lineated through various provisions and rules of the guidelines . We , however wish to be eagerly looking to witness a massive turnaround in the culture of ensuring much required transparency in Government purchases and works in Jammu and Kashmir by following e- procurement guidelines.