In a bid to promote domestic vendors and products, Indian Railways has sought a rejig in the procurement policy to increase the participation of local players in the rail sector in a significant way, a step towards gearing up to mission Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
Reviewing the various steps undertaken to promote Make in India initiatives, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has emphasised on Saturday the need to scale up the participation of local vendors in the procurement process.
Goyal instructed officers to interact with the industry to ensure increased participation of Indian manufacturing sector.
Railways move assumes significance as it comes days after the Finance Ministry amended its public finance rule that barred all government agencies to procure goods and services from bordering countries such as China and Pakistan on the ground of national security.
The Centre has recently amended the General Financial Rules, 2017, imposing restrictions on public procurement from bidders of countries that share a land border with India, citing grounds of defence and national security.
Seeking the support of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to make suitable policy revisions, if required, railways maintained that there is a need to introduce a clause for promoting local content in procurement so that it get more bids from local vendors to give a boost to the government’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat mission.
“While reviewing the steps to promote Make in India products in the procurement process, it was emphasized to increase the participation of local vendors in the procurement process. It was also decided that the local content clause in the procurement should be such that we may get more bids from local vendors/suppliers,” according to railways.
“This would also give a boost to mission Atma Nirbhar Bharat. Active support of DPIIT was sought to make suitable policy revisions, if required, to facilitate the efforts of Indian Railways in this direction,” the Railways said.
In order to push the Make in India campaign, the state-run transporter has maintained that encouragement needs to be given to such vendors who can supply higher locally manufactured content.
It was also suggested to create a FAQ section and a helpline number so that vendors may get clarity on various issues relating to the procurement process,” it added.
“A need for devising strategies for further increasing the participation of Indian service providers and component manufacturers was felt. Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a highly innovative idea in public procurement, across the globe,” the Railways said.
“Indian Railways, one of the largest procurement agencies of the Government of India, is integrating its procurement systems with GeM to use GeM’s full potential,” it added.
A detailed presentation was made by the Railway Board Member (Materials Management), in the meeting on enhancing Make in India and steps being taken to procure through Government e-Marketplace (GeM) along with the progress made.
It was emphasised on the need to do railway goods and services procurement of approximately Rs 70,000 cr on GeM platform to open up the market to industry even at remote places and specially MSMEs.
During the meeting, it was decided that Railways would work more towards having a user-friendly single step vendor web based interface for all its activities.
The website should, transparently, provide every interested vendor a clear idea of how to do business with Indian Railways.
It should also have all relevant information to generate confidence in the corruption free and transparent environment on Indian Railways.
The e-marketplace by the Centre is intended to become the single point of public procurement portal for all agencies of the government.
Earlier DFCC had cancelled the Rs 471 cr signalling contract given to Chinese company while the Railways has also scrapped a tender for thermal cameras meant for ‘Covid-19 surveillance’ after Indian firms alleged that the tender specifications favoured a Chinese company.
Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a traders’ apex body, earlier this month had also objected to the bid placed by a Chinese joint venture company for a global tender by the Railways for manufacturing Vande Bharat trains.
The development also comes at a time when India and China are directly involved in a tense border stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.