Indian Railways on Monday launched a portal to facilitate creation and publication of tenders online, enable tenderers to view tenders and submit requisite amount and bid offers online, enabling railways to implement e-governance in works contract.
Minister of railways Suresh Prabhu inaugurated and launched the works module of Indian Railways E-Procurement System (IREPS) and implementation of 'e-Tendering in Works Contracts', which will bring transparency and efficiency in tendering process for carrying out work contracts of Indian Railways.
The new portal will lead to reduction in hassles related to tendering process, saving in cost and time, increase in ease of working, increase in efficiency, increase in competition, reduction in complaint related to tendering and easy access to information, a railway ministry release stated.
IREPS has been developed by the Railways in association with the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an IT arm of the ministry of the Railways.
The inaugural ceremony saw the railway minister launching one tender for construction of washing line with catwalk and pit at Varansi station and other miscellaneous works in connection with Varanasi yard remodelling work.
Speaking on the occasion, the railway minister said this is an extremely important step towards IT enablement of Indian Railways. It is commendable that the work just not only confined to the engineering department but it has been a comprehensive effort of all.
Prabhu also claimed that no government organisation other than Indian Railway possesses such transparent process for finalising tender process. This major step does not only result into saving of time but also brings transparency at global benchmark, he said.
The railway minister stated that at present more than 60 per cent of railway tickets are being purchased online through IRCTC. He said that this e-connectivity will bring huge benefit as transparent process will bring people closer to the Railways.
Emphasising on the need for transparency, the minister further stated that he has already delegated powers to all general managers for finalising the tender process subject to their being accountable for the action they take. He said that all commercial transaction should fairly be dealt with directories, standardisation of tender conditions and interactive documents and better document management system.
At present, the Railways deals with approximately 25,000 tenders involving an expenditure of above Rs35,000 crore for maintenance/upgradation of existing assets and creation of new assets for huge railway network of about 66,000 route kilometer, which is handled manually.
This portal will enable railways to implement e-governance in works contract with facilities like creation and publication of tenders online, enable tenderers to view tenders, submit their requisite amount and bid offers online. It will also facilitate instant online creation of comparative chart and briefing note.
This new portal will lead to reduction in hassles related to tendering process, saving in cost and time, increase in ease of working, increase in efficiency, increase in competition, reduction in complaint related to tendering and easy access to information.
This portal has also introduced quite a few new concepts like online creation and maintenance of SOR (schedule of rates) and Non-Schedule directories, standardisation of tender conditions and interactive documents and better document management system. This module has been developed by Civil Engineering (General) Directorate through CRIS.
An enabling e-governance portal was necessitated to bring about transparency in Railways through implementation of 'e-tendering in works contract' as the Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world with about 1,16,000 track kilometre, 66,000 route kilometer, 1,39,000 bridges, 26,000 km electrified routes, 8500 stations and about 6 lakh quarters.
The maintenance upgradation of existing assets and creation of new assets needs a huge involvement of works tenders, involving approximately 25,000 tenders worth Rs35,000 crore on Indian Railways.
This huge volume needs an involvement of about 10,000 railway officials and 20,000 bidders as manual handling of huge volume of tenders has its own shortcomings like being time consuming, lack of uniformity, constraints on bidders in submitting their bids etc.
The newly-developed IT application will go a long way in increasing efficiency and effectiveness of Indian Railways.
This application will facilitate all tendering departments of Railway, viz, engineering, mechanical, electrical, signalling and telecom, commercial, health etc.
Bidders will get free access to information about tenders / corrigenda issued by all railway departments / units and submission of payments and bid will go online.
Bidders will get easy access to comparative statements, allowing them to work from the comforts of their office / home and choose time as per convenience.