The State achieved yet another milestone in its march towards total e-governance, when the entire payments in tendering processes were made online.
Kerala has become the first State in the country to implement the e-payment facility in tendering processes, ensuring total confidentiality and transparency in the business transactions and thus closing the door to corruption, Finance Minister K.M. Mani, said, while launching the new facility here on Wednesday.
He formally inaugurated the system by publishing the first e-tender of the government with e-payment facility. The launch event was hosted by the Kerala State IT Mission, which is the implementing agency for the e-governance project, with National Informatics Centre and the State Bank of Travancore.
Even though the government had issued orders in July last that all government departments should route tenders above Rs.25 lakh through the e-procurement system after March 31 this year, only a few departments had joined the system.
The e-payment facility would soon be extended to other departments, to ensure that all government transactions were transparent and corruption-free, Mr. Mani said.
Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikkutty, who presided over the function, said that the e-procurement project had been very efficient and had succeeded in getting rid of a lot of red tapes and delays and achieving efficiency. The application could be extended to other areas of governance as well so that the entire government administration was made more efficient, he added.
The e-procurement system had been launched in December 2011 in order to make the government’s procurement of goods and services more transparent. The Public Works Department (PWD) was the first department to publish an on-line tender through www.etenders.kerala.gov and so far, the system had handled 4,346 tenders valued at over Rs.2,300 crore.
At present, all payments towards tender document fees and Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) of tenders published through e-procurement gateway are received as Demand Drafts.
The payment mechanism for tenders has been now made on-line and has been integrated with the e-procurement system so that bidders can make the tender document fee and EMD Payments directly online. The amount will be received in a Government-designated pooling account of SBT till the opening of bids.
The EMDs of unsuccessful bidders will be refunded online to bank accounts at various stages of tender evaluation, which is expected to encourage more persons to take part in government tenders.