E-Governance and Procurement for Infrastructure in India: Policy Implications

Good governance stands for transparency, responsiveness, accountability and fairness. Organizations inspired by these values can sustain themselves and become globally competitive. This, in turn, also helps bring out a positive image of the organization among the stakeholders.

Infrastructure

The context

Today, the proliferation of information technology has expanded the horizon in terms of methods of doing business. IT has become particularly advantageous for the corporate sector. With constant changes in the way of doing business, best practices are the essence of good business.

How e-governance can help

E-governance leads to simplification of processes in decision-making, with the aid of information and communication technology. E-governance has also led to operational benefits. This is best exemplified by the central public sector units (PSUs). These PSUs implemented solutions for e-procurement, e-payment, e-tendering and e-receipt, resulting in transparency in the procurement process, besides making the procurement time cycle shorter, ensuring competitive prices, boosting the trust of stakeholders, as well as resulting in flexible and economical bidding process.

E-office, which is a system of working paperless, boosts the confidence of consumers as well as their satisfaction levels.

Challenges

In a country of India’s nature, the procurement process for any project encounters such challenges as efficiency, transparency and accountability. Corruption can happen at any stage in the process, varying from selection of the project to tendering and implementation. Making sure effective functioning of the public procurement procedure in the whole process constitutes a feature of good governance.

Recent measures

The secretaries’ group for ‘Innovative Budgeting and Effective Implementation’ advised to establish an e-market exclusively for goods and services procured or/and sold by government departments and PSUs. Director General of Supplies and Disposal built a portal for government e-market (GeM).

E-governance will help infrastructure sector, regardless of the peformance of power, coal, or any other sector,  perform competitively and will ensure effective and timely service delivery.

GeM is an online marketplace that provides a platform for markets as well as tools for e-bidding, reverse action etc. It enables users to get the best value for their money. It’s an entirely online transparent system that deals with the whole process of procurement from the start – vendor registration, generation of supply order, goods and services receipt, to online payment.

 

Policy implications

Apart from the positive outcome of the e-model of doing away with human discretion and lessening corruption in procurement, GeM reduces significantly the number of obstacles and thus boosts transparency and competition.

PSUs that expend a lot on procurement, having a complete system of checks and balances, are also likely to benefit from GeM.

It will  aid the efforts of the government to bring transparency and efficiency in the procurement of goods and services and it will make the system clean.

Significantly, the scheme could be extended to the private sector as well. This will ensure a level playing field because the private sector is not free from corruption.

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