Fearing delays, state floats tenders for textbooks

Fearing delays, state floats tenders for textbooks

DH Impact

Worried that the inordinate delay in inviting tenders to print textbooks might have its effect on the next academic year, the government, on Monday, invited tenders to print textbooks.

Contemplating changes in the textbook distribution method, the education department was toying with the tender specifications and ended up overshooting the actual time-table of events, that could have a cascading effect on other academic events of the 2019-20 academic year.

Even though the tenders for the textbooks, in general, had to be floated in September, there was no sign of tenders even after the end of October. DH reported about the prolonged delay in the article ‘Tenders: Publishers say textbook supply could be hit next year,’ in its November 2 edition. The Education department, in less than two days, floated the tender, inviting publishers to print textbooks.

The latest tender, according to the publishers, is not free of controversy though. A fresh clause over the payment of dues has left printers worried. As per the latest tender, a copy of which is with DH, “The payments will be made as above, subject to availability of funds.” Commenting on the clause, a publisher from Bengaluru said, “This means next year also there will be problems with our payment. The very fact that payment is made based on the availability of funds reveals the poor financial condition of the department,” the publisher said.

Another clause that printers have to adhere to, that the rate specified in the tender is till February 2020, has also left publishers fuming.

“From the time of awarding the contract to printing, the price may change owing to rise in the cost of resources. This will result in a huge loss to the printers. We will raise objections to these clauses at the government level,” another publisher said.

Initially, the government was toying with the idea of making printers deliver textbooks directly to students rather than the existing system of delivering it through BEOs or DDPIs at the taluk and district level.

But the government has ordered to float the tenders without a change in format, except introducing two clauses.