DailyPost 2216

That there is a dire need of pathbreaking changes in the governmental procurement mechanism does not need any debate. It has remained elusive for long while some amount of tinkering has been happening to make it more purposeful and transparent. The stakeholders remain the same, so is the power structure, the end goal also remains the same; to reached the supposed end result without getting entangled. Navigating the procurement minefield is the project, if that is done, rest in inconsequential. How many times the real impact in hard core data has matched with the proposed fruits of the project?

Before getting into the proposed entity for this purpose, are we even aware of what the issues are? Is diagnosis of the ailment the same for all stakeholders and decision makers, or there is small or wide difference? This needs to be sorted out first. How are requirements formulated is the first question to be answered? If there is broad unison on this, only then we start agreeing upon the need, urgency and consequently the utility of it. It is pertinent to know the timelines and what concurrent systems dependent on it. Is it a part of a long-time strategic planning or a wild card entry. Suffice to say, if requirements are worked on this mindscape, the process itself will find clarity as one proceeds.

Who deals with the requirements? Do the professionals do it, the practitioners in the area who are in the skin of things, know the nuances and are on the top on a real time and dynamic level. You might not need one, but many of them, for complex projects and all big projects are interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Even a single product can be so complex that it can daunt you endlessly. Then you have the pricing imbroglio. There is no formula achieve sanctity in this, in this world. Who would develop that formula for that procurement and how can it reach a level of objectivity which cannot be challenged. Our Black Box Formula has reached a level, that even the courts have at times taken sealed covers. The nature of Oversight Mechanism is another concurrent question which needs to be tackled.

The challenge is of requirement being enterprise driven, domain – the bold and generic expertise, the finance expert , the pricing and tech connect, the process experts, the testers, the evaluators and the validators, all on one seamless plane and process. It a is hard nut to crack. It can only happen over time. Getting all of them from the organisations they work or as freelancers and work in tandem for a purpose does not seem very doable. How much of power can be divested in them? Conversely, how much of power and influence the procuring entity / agency is ready to let go. Can there be constitutional agency doing the biggest of the procurements in a manner like the USPC does for the bureaucrats? A fair, transparent and expertise enabled procurement agency. Bigger projects have to be dealt differently. What about training? Does procurement training become a super specialization with the experts on product and domain to support or vice versa. Procurement Manthan can only provide the required answers. We cannot be permanently wedded to the current mechanism while feeling its heat endlessly.

Sanjay Sahay

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