To provide a level-playing field to private players, railways are working to make the contract management system simpler with changes in rules and introduce end-to-end IT-enabled decision making in the tender process.
“The government wants that there should be ease of doing business. For which, the contract management has to be a much easier system and rules have to evolve in such a manner that there should be a level-playing field and transpraency…,” Railway Financial Commissioner S Mookerjee said.
Addressing a CII event on “Contract Management in Indian Railway – Moving towards Global Benchmarks”, he said, “Today both railways as well as CII have come together to have a workshop to find ways and means to find a better system in the contract system so that infrastructure development moves fast as envisioned by the Prime Minister.”
Railways spends about Rs 1 lakh crore annually towards contractual payments relating to works and supply contracts, covering both revenue maintenance and construction projects.
Unless a practical and acceptable contract management system which is fair to both the parties is put in place, such a massive network expansion programme which presupposes a huge participation by the private sector cannot be implemented with ease, he said.
He suggested that the onus of quality control should be on the contractor with penalty provision for substandard work.
Focusing on Information Technology, he said there is a need for end-to-end IT-enabled decision making in deciding tenders.
“The government system has got a lot of things which needs to be improved. Similarly, from the vendors side also there needs to be a lot of handshaking and coming forward and bringing transparency so that we can do our project at the most optimal rates and speed,” Mookerjee said.
Railway Board Member (Mechanical) Hemant Kumar said the objective is to find a right balance between purchasers and service providers.
Kumar said, “Earlier, railways had an opaque system but now the focus is on transparency and railways is significantly moving towards this through e-procurement… There should also be transparency on other side as well. But some unscrupulous vendors are still maintaining the opaque system.