Srinagar: Amid the ongoing communication blockade, the government has rolled-out the much-hyped e-procurement policy in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.
The ongoing internet blockade in Kashmir is the longest ever, crossing over 980 hours and surpassing 2016 record of 240 hours.
Notwithstanding the internet clampdown, the authorities have directed departments to implement e-procurement policy in the state.
“It is mandatory for departments to receive all bids through e-procurement portals in respect of all procurements. Departments which do not have large volume of procurement or carry out procurements required only for day to day running of offices and also have not initiated e-procurement through any other solution provided so far, may use e-procurement solution developed by NIC,” read the directives issued to the departmental heads.
The departments have also been directed to prepare annual procurement plan and upload it on the website before January next year.
“Every authority delegated with the financial powers of procuring goods in public interest shall have the responsibility and accountability to bring efficiency, economy, and transparency in matters relating to public procurement and for fair and equitable treatment of suppliers and promotion of competition in public procurement,” the directives read.
Government has however exempted those cases from e-procurement where national security and strategic consideration demands confidentiality. This, however, needs prior approval from the competent authority with concurrence of Finance Department.
Shabir Ahmad, who works as a contractor, questioned government’s move to implement e-procurement policy at a time when Kashmir is witnessing communication clampdown. “It is not possible to submit documents online in Kashmir. How can we apply for any work online when internet services are often blocked here?” he asked.
Ishtiyaq Ahmad, who supplies goods to government departments, said: “We welcome this decision of government but the authorities should also consider the situation in the valley. All online businesses have collapsed in Kashmir because of internet ban.”
Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal, however, said that internet kiosks will be opened in every district so that people can access websites.