Public procurement as agent of change

Public procurement as agent of change

Government procurement, sizeable even in a country with relatively under-developed fiscal(राजकोषीय/वित्तीय) capacity such as India, can be used to improve the nature and quality of production in the economy, and improve business culture. India is not utilising(उपयोग करना) this potential(क्षमता/संभावित). This must change. General government spending in India is upwards of 26% of GDP. Take away the expenditure(खर्च/लागत) on interest payments, salaries and repayment of loans, and the bulk of the rest is spent on buying goods and services, ranging(क्रम से रखना) from office staples, cleaning and services to weapons(अस्र-शस्र), through electrical machinery and cement. The quantities involved are large. When the government mandated(अनिवार्य/अधिकार-पत्र दिया जाया)value-added tax on contractor services purchased by the government, all suppliers to government contractors turned tax-compliant, at least for a portion(हिस्से/विभाग) of their sales. This must be leveraged.

Purchasing this at the lowest quoted price, L1, is a mantra in government procurement. This is from among bidders(बोली लगाने-वाला/नीलाम की बोली) who have qualified on technical parameters. What could go wrong? In effect, everything, given that there is no mechanism to ensure(सुनिश्चित) adherence(निष्ठा/लगाव) to quality parameters. Unethical suppliers beat their prices below the levels ethical(नैतिकनीति-विषयक) ones can lower theirs to, supply shoddy(तुच्छ वस्तु/बेकाम) stuff and pay off the officials in charge of quality. Multiple levels of checking by randomly assigned units whose adverse findings impact not just the supplier but also the officials who certified quality would be useful. Even if there is no integrity in these secondary and tertiary(तिगुना) lines of quality assurance, the need to pay them also off would raise the cost of shoddy supplies, undermining the power to undercut. Tracing the materials purchased by L1bidders to multiple levels of input suppliers, using the GST audit trail, would be another check. Making lifecycle cost, including maintenance, the bid parameter would also help.All such steps would fail if the political culture is to mobilise funding via government procurement. Reforming this to create transparency is a major hurdle(बाधा/रुकावट), but it has to be crossed. For the sake of the polity and the economy


Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: allocation, chunk, excerpt, fraction, fragment
Antonyms: entirety, total, whole, agreement, peace

Synonyms: attachment, faithfulness, loyalty, obedience, cohesion
Antonyms: disloyalty, inconstancy, unsteadiness

Synonyms: honest, honorable, humane, principled, proper
Antonyms: corrupt, dishonest, immoral, improper, unethical

Synonyms: complication, difficulty, handicap, hindrance, impediment
Antonyms: advantage, aid, assistance, ease, help

5.Shoddy(तुच्छ वस्तु/बेकाम)
Synonyms: inferior, run-down, shabby, shameful, base
Antonyms: good, respectable, noble, refined, sophisticated

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