E-tendering to save money for Punjab govt

The Punjab government is expecting to save around 10 per cent of its finances with the introduction of e-tendering process in its departments. The process also aims to ensure transparency in the dealings.

The e-tendering system was introduced in the Punjab Mandi Board a few months ago and has been recently adopted by the irrigation department too. It is expected to be shortly introduced in other departments, boards and corporations.

Before the introduction of e-tendering, sources said, three tenders of public health amenities in the grain markets of Nakodar, Phagwara and Rajpura, with a total cost of Rs 80.89 lakh, were allocated by the mandi board with a net saving of 0.85 per cent (Rs 89,000). But with the process in place, the board saved 6.18 per cent (Rs 8.42 lakh) on the three tenders of public health amenities awarded in the grain markets of Rajpura, Banga and Ropar at a total cost of Rs 136.34 lakh.

Similarly, before the introduction of the system, civil tenders in Nawanshahr district were allotted at a total cost of Rs 70.9 lakh with a net saving of 1.64 per cent (Rs 1.16 lakh). With e-tendering, two tenders of civil work in the same district were allotted at a total cost of Rs 53.35 lakh, saving 8.94 per cent (Rs 4.77 lakh).

According to officials, since e-tendering involves more contractors, due to its wider reach, all try to place their best bids. As a result, the government receives lower bids for its projects and saves money.

Sources said the present system of calling tenders had many shortcomings — inadequate publicity of the tenders, influence of local contractors, pooling system adopted by contractors and alleged favoritism and manipulation of rates in connivance with department employees.

The e-tendering system claims to be a foolproof one and promises to rule out any kind of favoritism, as the process will not involve human interference. Also, once the contractor has gone online and filled the tenders, he cannot make any change and even see his bid.

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