To achieve the twin objectives of improving ease of doing business and transparency in supply chain management, the Indian Railways under Prime Minister Modi’s initiative of ‘Digital India’ has commenced e-procurement for all materials worth above Rs 1 lakh. Hitherto, the e-procurement had been restricted to purchases above Rs 2 lakh.
In the first eight months of the current fiscal year 1.85 lakh tenders have already been published in the Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS), a 96% increase over the same period in the last fiscal (94,079). The IREPS today has more than 29,000 vendors registered on its system.
IREPS has currently become the largest e-procurement platform in India based on the number of tenders handled. The transporter procured material worth more than Rs 50,000 crore in the last fiscal while up to November this fiscal, it has procured around Rs 30,000 crore worth goods..
Through another initiative taken under ‘Digital India’, the national transporter has started paperless settlement of all tenders including payment, which has expanded the scope of e-procurement.
“Electronic processing of tenders has enabled vendors to file and view tenders without having to visit the ministry, saving money as well as time,” a railway official said. “We have also switched over to 100% e-auction in our sale of scrap,” he added.
Officials at the ministry state that the e-auction of scrap fetched the transporter more than Rs 3,000 crore last year.
The ministry has also planned e-auction to be used for leasing of parcels and other commercial contracts. The various initiatives taken by the transporter, besides reducing its use of paper, has ensured that all forms of tender allocations and procurement are transparent and accessible to the public as well as the stake holders.
“All the contracts will be on the e-tendering platform of Indian Railways by the end of this fiscal; we have tried to bring 100% transparency in all our ventures and one of the top global Fortune 10 companies informed the prime minister that even though they lost out in the locomotive bidding process, they were very happy with the transparency observed by the ministry of railways; even GE and Alstom informed the public about the transparent manner in which the Madhepura and Marhowra projects were handled.” said railway minister Suresh Prabhu at a PPP summit of the Confederation of Indian Industry on Friday.
The transporter had initiated e-procurement in 2010 in various zones and by 2012 had rolled out this service in the headquarters of all zonal railways and production units.