Ganga Kalyana scheme tenders violate transparency act norms

They run the risk of supplying farmers with low-quality equipment

One of the oldest social welfare schemes of the State government aimed at benefiting farmers from backward sections and minority communities, now appears to be have been designed for the benefit of select manufacturers.

The Ganga Kalyana Scheme, which has been in place for over two decades now, identifies beneficiaries - small and marginal farmers - of backward and minority communities. The beneficiaries can obtain money to sink borewells and to purchase submersible pumpsets. While the scheme is highly subsidised and paid for by the government, there is a small loan component which beneficiaries are entitled to pay back.

Documents in possession of Deccan Herald reveal that the tenders (for 2012-13), which called for the supply and installation of submersible pumpsets and other supplementary equipment, are in violation of the Karnataka Transparency In Public Procurements Act (KTPP), 1999.

According to the KTPP Act, the earnest money deposit (EMD) by bidders participating in any of the government’s procurement process should be one per cent of the tender value, subject to a minimum of Rs 15 lakh. The value of the project for 2012-13 is Rs 165 crore, of which, money spent per beneficiary is Rs 2 lakh.

While Rs 1.5 lakh of the Rs two lakh to be spent on each beneficiary is provided by the government as a subsidy, another Rs 50,000 is provided as a loan, which the farmers are expected to repay.

But while inviting bidders for the implementation of the scheme, the government has set the EMD at just Rs 10 lakh.

Another violation is that while floating the tender, the government has fixed the turnover eligibility for bidders at Rs one crore, even as the KTPP Act prescribes that it be at least 80 per cent of the tender value — which, in this case, would be at least Rs 120 crore.

All these violations, sources said: “Were done to accommodate a few local companies who have been part of the scheme for many years now. The government is also giving them a long rope in other aspects as well.”

On inquiring with Mruthyunjaya, Managing Director of the Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation — an entity under the Department of Social Welfare which has called for the tender — he said: “Everything has been done as per the instructions provided to us. The tender is only floated by us, the approving authority is the Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare.”

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