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Govt OKs Public Procurement Bill To Check Corruption

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Aiming to bring in transparency and deal with the issue of corruption in state purchases, the government on Thursday approved a Bill that seeks to regulate public procurement of above Rs 50 lakh and provide fair treatment to bidders.

"The Bill is exceptionally important as it is part of our commitment to deal with the issue of corruption. Part of our commitment is to ensure that in government functioning, there is both accountability and transparency," HRD and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said after a Cabinet meeting.

The Public Procurement Bill, 2012, seeks to codify fundamental principles in the government procurement and maximise competition, he told reporters.

The Bill, likely to be introduced in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament, would not apply to purchases "below Rs 50 lakh".

"This will result in improving efficiency and quality...

hopefully, the Bill will be introduced in this session," the minister said.

The Bill seeks to regulate government procurement, including that of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), with the objectives of "ensuring transparency, accountability and probity in the procurement process".

According to an official release, the Bill also seeks to ensure fair and equitable treatment for bidders, promoting competition, enhancing efficiency and economy, safeguarding integrity in the procurement process and "enhancing public confidence in public procurement".

Currently, there is no overarching legislation governing public procurement by the central government and CPSEs. The General Financial Rules, 2005, govern procurements made by the Centre.

(PTI)