Such specifications violate government procurement and financial rules that were specially amended in May 2017 to push local content in government purchases.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked government departments and public sector units to avoid choosing foreign products and brands at a time when the government is trying to boost domestic manufacturing through PM Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ programme launched at the start of his tenure.
On January 3, in a letter to all secretaries, principal secretary to the prime minister Nripendra Misra wrote that complaints are being received, alleging that government entities are indicating foreign brands and/or restrictive conditions in their tenders, thereby excluding local manufacturers from bidding process. He also wrote that such specifications violate government procurement and financial rules that were specially amended in May 2017 to push local content in government purchases, reported Economic Times.
The senior bureaucrat asked departments and ministries to ensure that restrictive specifications and standards that effectively exclude local manufacturers and service providers are not part of tenders. This is the second time that Misra has asked departments to follow the rules. In December 2017, he had sent a similar letter to the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), asking it to strictly implement the public procurement policy to give preference to ‘Make in India’ approved by the Cabinet in May of that year.
On December 10, 2017 Misra wrote to Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, DIPP that it is very disturbing that the broad message has not been appreciated by various departments. He felt that it should be the responsibility at the highest level in each department to ensure that the tender conditions are strictly in sync with the public procurement order and each tender must be examined from the point of view of the interest of Indian manufacturers.
A few days before the letter, a DIPP standing committee had heard grievances of various Indian entities such as BEML, Bharat Forge, FICCI and L&T, who had alleged that they were being kept out of various tenders due to restrictive specifications or experience criteria.