Nagpur: In the aftermath of the 206-crore Chikki Scam which brought the State ministers Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde under suspicion, the State Government took the firm stand against corruption in various departments and eventually scrapped 23 year old rate contract system. This system permits various departments to conduct purchases on rate negotiation basis. Now every purchase over Rs 3 lakh would have to be made through inviting e-tenders.
An announcement to this effect was made in the state legislature by Industries Minister Subhash Desai. While his ministers Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde are battling charges of irregularities, the CM said the allegations against his government are false.
The state Cabinet took this decision late on Thursday night, he said, adding that the policy had not been revised in the past 23 years.
Under the rate contract system, the prices for various items are decided by the Central Purchase and Quality Assurance Organisation and the state Industries department issues a list for the state using the central list as a yardstick. These rates are then used in the tenders for procurement and the bids are selected accordingly.
Desai said the Central rates will not be applicable in the new system, but will only help in framing the new purchase policy. Public representatives and departmental heads will be asked to study a draft policy and recommend changes before it comes into force from October 2015.
Henceforth, all purchases involving amounts higher than Rs 3 lakh will be done through e-tendering. Suppliers in the state will get first preference and the party which quotes the lowest rate will get the supply contract. However, if any firm from outside the state wins the bid, it will be asked to supply 50% of the total requirement and the other half will come from firms based in Maharashtra if they are ready to match the rate.
According to Desai, the purchases will be decentralised and won’t be controlled from Mantralaya. The government has already decided to verify the lowest rates quoted by bidders with the prevailing market rates for various items to ensure that quality material is supplied.