Finance Ministry relaxes norms for sourcing Covid-19 relief materials

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 10, 2021

The Finance Ministry notified amendments to General Financial Rules in May 2020   -  Getty Images

Global tenders for procurement of less than ₹200 cr allowed till May 31

The Finance Ministry has relaxed procurement norms for sourcing Covid-19 relief materials. These include permitting global tender to be floated for a value of less than ₹200 crore and procurement of the same item at different rates.

These instructions will be applicable to the Department of Pharma, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO). “The instruction in this Department’s OM (Office Memorandum) dated May 15, 2020 specifying that no Global Tender Enquiries(GT) shall be invited for tenders up to ₹200 crore shall stand relaxed, and hence, it shall be permissible to invite GTE where necessary,” the new OM dated April 24 said, on the website of the Finance Ministry, on Monday. The new instructions will be in place till May 31.

Helping SMEs

Last year in May, the Finance Ministry had notified amendments to the General Financial Rules (GFR) aimed at benefitting small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Another relaxation relates to procurement of goods and services through the government’s e-marketplace (GeM). In view of the urgency involved, these instructions, have been issued for any emergent purchases and transportation of medical and other essential supplies related to Covd-19 operations. As per the instructions, when these ministries and departments are undertaking ‘single source procurement’ of goods or procuring ‘non-consultation services’ like air and other transportation services, through nomination, then they would not be required to float tender on the GeM portal.

Relaxed norms

The relaxed norms provide that such procurement can also be done from more than one source, if the entire quantity required is not available or is not immediately available from one source. “Such procurement may, if unavoidable, be at different rates,” as per the instructions whiel adding that if the entire quantity required is not immediately available from any one method of procurement, the procurement may also be resorted to simultaneously by multiple methods, namely procurement under Rule 166/204, procurement through GeM, and procurement through other procurement methods (including through Indian Missions) and such procurement may, if unavoidable, be at different rates.

While Rule 166 of General Financial Rules (GFR) relates to single-source procurement of goods, Rule 204 pertains to procurement of ‘non-consultation services’ like air and other transportation services through nomination after consultation with the Financial Advisor of the specific department or Ministry.

Published on May 10, 2021

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