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Maharashtra cabinet approves new procurement policy

Maharashtra cabinet

Mumbai: Maharashtra cabinet today approved a new procurement policy to ensure transparency in dealings in the backdrop of allegations of irregularities in purchases made by various departments.

The procurement policy, which was tabled before the state cabinet by the industries department, will bring in new methods like the ‘Swiss Challenge’ system of procurement to get the best deal from private players.

It also scraps – barring exceptions – the controversial system of rate contracts and looks at setting up a new e-portal to serve as the front-end platform for purchases by the government.

Maharashtra women and child development minister Pankaja Munde was embroiled in an unseemly controversy after she was accused of irregularities in purchase of items worth Rs 206 crore, including chikki.

The education department headed by Vinod Tawde was also charged with irregularities in the purchase of fire extinguishers for schools.

E-tendering will be mandatory for all purchases above Rs 3 lakh.

As per the ‘Swiss challenge’ system of procurement, a private player submits a bid or proposal to the government, unsolicited or otherwise, for procurement or projects. Then, the government will publicise the bid and “challenge” other players to match or better it to ensure that it secures the best deal as sellers under cut each other.

The reverse bidding system will also be brought in. The ministry of railways is also using the Swiss Challenge method to re-develop 400 railway stations across the country and infrastructure projects like roads and housing are also awarded by some states using the method.

The Maharashtra government has already set up an electronic tendering system for processing tenders of all state government departments, agencies and corporations online.

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