Review Mechanisms of the Public Procurement Process

AuthorAman Sharma
DOI10.1177/0019556120976599
Date01 December 2020
Publication Date01 December 2020
SubjectNotes
Review Mechanisms of
the Public Procurement
Process
Aman Sharma1
Introduction
Public procurement constitutes an important activity of any government. According
to an estimate, the total amount spent on procurement of goods, services and works
by public authorities, all over the world, is about 15% of the GDP. Owing to the
enormous size of public procurement, there is a huge scope for irregularities, both
by the public servants as well as suppliers. Several countries, therefore, have insti-
tutionalised systems for Domestic Review (DR). A DR system enables the stake-
holders to challenge a procurement process before the award stage.
Given the size of the Indian economy, the amount spent by the Union and state
governments on public procurement every year would be a staggering $390 billion
or `27.3 lakh crore. There is a propensity of public servants to indulge in cor-
ruption and also of the contractors/suppliers/service providers to collude among
themselves. As a result, public procurement in both developed and developing
countries is hugely regulated and extremely process driven. However, despite so
many checks and balances as well as the existence of a plethora of regulatory
and judicial bodies to oversee public procurement, corruption scandals in public
procurement are rampant even in countries like Switzerland, Germany, France,
UK and the USA, where public institutions and judiciary are quite evolved and
independent, and public servants are also reasonably well paid. In the last two
years, about 100 corruption cases in road construction/repair contracts have come
to light in Switzerland, despite the country being ranked third on the Corruption
Perceptions Index 2017. In countries with economies of the size of India, namely
USA, France, Russia, Brazil, and others, the number of corruption cases relating
to public procurement is huge. Not much data on corruption cases in public pro-
curement in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is available, but it is assumed
that the numbers would be large. China has centralised public procurement agen-
cies at the federal and provincial levels which make procurement on behalf of all
other public agencies.
Note
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
66(4) 585–591, 2020
© 2020 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
in.sagepub.com/journals-permissions-india
DOI: 10.1177/0019556120976599
journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
1 Ministry of Steel, Government of India, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Aman Sharma, Director, Ministry of Steel, Udyog Bhawan, Dr Maulana Azad Road, New Delhi,
110011.
E-mail: sharma.aman@nic.in

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