Finance Ministry issues guidelines for relaxation of procurement, expenditure and transportation norms of medical and other essential supplies
Aimed at expediting the process as delays could result in loss of lives, the relaxations apply to the health, textiles and civil aviation ministries and the departments of pharmaceuticals and consumer affairs.New Delhi: The ministry of finance has issued guidelines for relaxations of procurement, expenditure and transportation norms of medical and other essential supplies for Covid-19 containment and relief operations on Monday.
Aimed at expediting the process as delays could result in loss of lives, the relaxations apply to the health, textiles and civil aviation ministries and the departments of pharmaceuticals and consumer affairs.
“Being a national health emergency of unprecedented and historic scale, delays of procurement will result in loss of lives of citizens. Hence there is a paramount public interest in ensuring that the necessary supplies are procured in the fastest possible manner and financial procedures have to adapt accordingly,” the guidelines said
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the decision in a tweet on Monday. “In order to facilitate procurement & transportation of medical and other essential supplies for #COVID19 operations, Dept. of Expenditure has issued guidelines for relaxations for @Pharmadept, @MoHFW_INDIA, @TexMinIndia, Dept of Consumer Affairs, and @MoCA_GoI,” she said.
In terms of procurement, the guidelines noted that certain supplies may not be available in the quantities and specifications needed from a single seller and within the required timeframe.
Keeping all this in mind, the finance ministry has enabled procurement of a single item from multiple sellers at different rates if needed.
It also said that supplies not available in the country can be procured by Indian missions abroad in consultation with the concerned ministries and departments.
The items deemed as essential supplies for Covid-19 operations will require the approval of the secretary of the concerned ministry or department.
Under the guidelines which are effective till April 30, the mentioned ministries and departments are allowed expenditures up to Rs 200 crore in excess of their budgetary allowances as per the revised estimate for FY20 for expenses incurred till March 31.
For expenditure incurred from April 1 onward, the concerned ministries and departments will have to stick to their respective first quarter expenditure estimates as per the FY21 budget. For amounts beyond that, they will need the approval of the finance ministry.
These ministries are required to provide the finance ministry with a contingency expenditure plan by April 10 along with the expected amounts and heads under which expenses will be incurred for Covid-19 relief operations.
The rates for transportation and logistics for the supplies will be fixed by the logistics committee.