The Consulting Engineers Association of India (CEAI), the apex body of Consulting Engineers in the country has – in the post CoronaVirus situation and as a necessary first step towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat –  urged the Government to revisit and say goodbye to the age old conventional L1 tendering and procurement system in the country.

 The Least Cost Selection method or L1 which is the award of work to the lowest financial offer has been a prevalent procurement strategy for procurement of works by Contractors, Consultants and purchase of goods since long in the country.  This has often resulted in poor quality of works and goods.  This necessitates an urgent need to change the Selection Mechanism and move towards the concept of ‘’Workable Rates’’ Procurement Mechanism.

 “The Changed Procurement System which offers various alternatives to derive workable rates in a transparent manner, will give opportunities to competent firms to plan a project or a bid on workable rates, thereby facilitating better management and execution which will reflect on quality and timelines. The L1 system which is plagued with delays of time and cost overruns will ultimately lead to time consuming arbitrations and higher costs’’, said Mr. Kapila, Chairman, Infrastructure Committee of CEAI and Mentor of this movement.

 “The change from L1 needs to be brought about as a matter of great urgency in the country.  How can we buy bullet proof jackets at L1?  How can we buy PPE Kits on L1? Do we need to secure our forward line or kill them because we refuse to bring the requisite change in the system.  Let us wake up to the immediate requirement of this essential change post haste and move forward if we have to achieve the mission of Atma Nirbhar Bharat ’’, Mr. Kapila added.

Mr. Amitabha Ghoshal, President, CEAI opined that the heart of this change lies in creating awareness in the minds of the general public that the focus on ‘’Least Cost Factor’’ has resulted in compromises in achieving world class infrastructure or purchase of quality goods as well as services.’’

 The country needs a public procurement mechanism which focuses on Quality and Cost in all activities in public domain.  Also to be considered is the need, in these times to prevent foreign companies from bidding too low with a view to prevent Indian companies from competing and with opportunity coming up.

 ‘’The International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), as an Institution is deeply interested in the processes used in the selection of Contractors, Consultants and Vendors of materials for different kinds of works, since the outcome and completion of contracts will ultimately reflect on the design, quality of material used and supervision effort of the engineers.  FIDIC has been advocating appropriate methodology of selection of Contractors and Consultants to ensure that the Client gets optimal value for his investment along with assured quality and timely completion of projects’’, added Mr. Ghoshal.

 ‘’It is time to say goodbye to this age old system and wake up to the dire necessity of change which is inescapably required for moving towards ‘’Atma Nirbhar Bharat’’, said Mr. Kapila.