An autonomous government body, the National Productivity Council (NPC), and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, have been told they are not eligible to bid for the prestigious job of consultancy regarding revamping the competency of India’s bureaucracy, starting off with seven key ministries.
News18 was the first to report on May 31 about the government seeking to onboard a leading HR consultancy firm to study the organizational structures and the work allocation documents of seven key ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health, as part of the ambitious ‘Mission Karmayogi’ project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But at a pre-bid meeting with potential bidders earlier this month, the NPC, which is an autonomous body under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), strongly objected to the eligibility criteria which effectively rules it out of the race. IIM Ahmedabad expressed interest but discovered the criteria ruled it out too.
The government has stipulated the bidder must be incorporated and registered in India under Indian Companies Act, 1956, LLP Act, 2008 or Partnership Act, 1932 and operating for the last five years. NPC is registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860. “We consider the nature of registration should have no impact on execution and delivery of the project,” NPC said at the meeting.
IIM Ahmedabad at the meeting said that as per the IIM Act, 2017, it was a body corporate but not registered under the acts specified by the government. IIM Ahmedabad said it was operational for the last 59 years and NPC said it has provided consultancy to both the public and private sector since 1958. However, government said there will be no change to its eligibility criteria.
More Unrealistic Conditions?
The government has also stipulated that the bidder should have successfully completed at least three projects, each worth Rs 1.50 crore or two projects, each worth Rs 2 crore or a project worth Rs 3 crore in the last three years. The stipulation also is that such projects must be done in India. Hence, firms asked if they could include global projects undertaken by them to qualify for the criteria but the government has said no to change its criteria.
The NPC lodged a protest at such criteria. “Why the cut-off values of the projects have been determined on such a higher side? Why are the last 3 years only being considered? The values are enormously high for HR Transformation & Consulting projects in India, especially in the Government sector and should not be more than 50 lakhs. Out of the last 3 years, business was disrupted last year due to COVID pandemic and it is still on,” NPC said at the meeting.
NPC said it has conducted organisation restructuring and HR interventions projects for many large and prestigious clients like the Ministry of Corporate Affairs but since NPC is a not-for-profit organisation, projects’ values are not always commercially commensurate to the quantum of interventions. “Hence, such high cut-off values shall just act as a barrier while NPC can contribute a lot in this flagship and important mission of government,” the NPC said.
However, government did not agree with NPC's suggestion to alter these criteria.
Other Objections of Firms
HR firms also objected to government’s condition that resources deployed by the selected firm will be expected to work out of Delhi and log in biometric attendance daily. Firms said that given the health emergency across the country with respect to Covid second wave, the deployment of fulltime resources onsite may be a challenge and asked if some work can be done remotely.“Considering the individuals would be fairly senior resources would it be possible for these resources to be deployed in a limited capacity and have a dedicated support team guided by them with 100% deployment,” one company asked. But the government said no to any changes and also rejected suggestions to let companies bid as part of Joint Ventures or Consortiums.