Journey of GePNIC and its Impact
eProcurement is one of the flagship projects of NIC which has brought many laurels to the organization. Its country wide implementation and buyers switching from bespoke systems to GePNIC highlights the domain expertise of NIC.
The seed for GePNIC was sown way back in 2005-2006 when NIC wanted to adopt online tendering for its own requirements. We, at NIC have modest procurement requirements and process about 100+ tenders a year, predominantly of IT equipment and Services. But in a well thought move, in 2005, NIC planned to extend it to other procuring organizations. We experimented with readily available systems provided by third party by customising it to suit the requirements of government. However, this exercise couldn’t be sustained. That’s when we realized that if we need to serve various government departments, we would need to carve out a solution of our own i.e. we needed to be Atmanirbhar.
NIC took up the challenge to provide an eco-system which could emulate the complete existing procurement process without any compromise on procedures and practices followed, but by bringing in re-engineered process with more security, enhanced transparency and undoubted authenticity. Thus was born a generic e-Procurement software system, viz. Government eProcurement System of National Informatics Centre, GePNIC©. It was developed in house to cater to the procurement / tendering requirements of the Government departments and organizations. The system can easily be adopted for all kinds of procurement activities such as Goods, Services & Works. It aims at enhancing transparency in all activities relating to tendering process and non-discrimination amongst bidders. It enables free access to tender documents, clarifications, secure on line bid submission and access to bid opening event to all, from any place on 24×7 basis. The system, which is being increasingly used since the year 2007 and has evolved continuously with feedback from the procuring entities has been designed taking into account the tender rules followed in various states and also the CVC’s guidelines on tendering. GePNIC system adheres to GFR 2017, World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Guidelines.
The system has strong in-built security features including two-factor Authentication with Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) as per IT Act, Usage of SSL, Role-based User Access and Bid-encryption at Client end etc. Each document uploaded into the system is digitally signed for authentication purposes which introduces accountability on the part of the stakeholders, namely officials / bidders. The system has undergone regular security audit and is certified by Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) as per EPS guidelines issued by MeitY.
A humble beginning by publishing the pilot tender on 23rd Nov 2007 of the Highways Department, Government of Tamil Nadu marked journey of GePNIC©. Slowly more States, more departments joined and started imposing faith in GePNIC. As we marched ahead slowly but steadily, by implementing GePNIC in State after State, one PSU after another, including the very critical Defence Organisations and its PSUs, we realised the importance of having a single product with configurable features. Almost all the age old practises followed were re-engineered to adapt to an online environment giving more visibility, aiding decision making process and ensuring authenticity. From around 11,000 tenders worth Rs. 20,000 Crores per year in 2009-2010 , GePNIC graduated to process 13 Lakh tenders worth Rs. 16 Lakh crores per year in 2019-2020 . Thus it brought about phenomenal transformation by facilitating adoption of Online procurement across the country, wide and deep.
Key catalyst for this phenomenal increase was the setting up of Central Public Procurement Portal in Jan 2012. This was in pursuance of the recommendations of the Committee on Public Procurement headed by Shri Vinod Dhall and the decisions thereon of the Group of Ministers constituted to consider measures to tackle corruption and ensure transparency. The Department of Expenditure took action for setting up a Central Public Procurement Portal (CPP Portal) as well as Procurement Policy Division. National Informatics Centre (NIC) was entrusted with the task of setting up this portal.
The primary objective of the portal is to provide a single point access to the information on procurements made across various Ministries and the line Departments. The CPP Portal is accessible at the URL https://eprocure.gov.in/cppp and it has e-publishing and e-procurement modules. It is mandatory for all Ministries / Departments of the Central Government, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and Autonomous and Statutory Bodies to publish all their tender enquiries on the CPP Portal. It also provides information on active tenders, global tenders, high value tenders, awarded tenders etc.It is integrated with systems of around 100+ different organizations from where real-time tender information is fetched. GePNIC is the core eProcurement engine of CPPP which has 48 instances at present. It is also integrated with Government eMarkertplace.
GePNIC is one of the most successful flagship initiative of NIC and we learnt many things in the process like how to make a single product to cater to varied requirements, to provide software as a service, agile development and deployment, segregation of development and implementation, seamless incremental version changes, load handling, process to handle malfunction or unforeseen events and many more.
At present it is actively being used by processing procurements worth Rs 1.25 Lakhs crores per month by 30 States and UTs, around 580 Central Government Organizations, including local bodies, municipalities, apex office of the country and so on.
1. Savings in terms of Time and Cost has been noticeably witnessed. Many Organizations like Indian Army, Indian Oil, Govt. of West Bengal have conducted study and have substantiated these facts.
2. Immense transparency has been brought in the procurement process by auto population of key information in Public Domain at appropriate milestones. This has considerably reduced RTIs/ Litigations / Complaints.
3. Adherence to policy – Under the guidance of Procurement Policy Division, Dept of Expenditure, Min of Finance all policy matters are strictly adhered to. It can be also be customized as per requirements of State Government and Central Public Sector Enterprises.
4. Wide visibility all tenders PAN India in CPP portal has led to reduction in Newspaper advertisement leading to considerable savings.
5. Government owned and operated platform provides continuity of business, Data Security, Data in Government Domain, availability of enhanced features
6. Comprehensive dashboard with KPIs has enabled various academicians to study and analyze the procurement trends and impact.
Awards & Recognitions:
Various awards have been bestowed on GePNIC system :
Data Challenge Awards by NIC 2020, International award- South Asian Procurement Innovation SAPIA 2018 by World Bank, Multiple CSI Nihilent- 2017 2013, Skoch Awards 2015 2010 , GEMS of India Award 2017, couple of eIndia Awards – 2009 2014, CII_IT Award 2011.