The Indian government is accepting bids from technology companies to set up its eProcurement portal, but reports have surfaced that Microsoft is calling into question the government’s tender process.
According to reports Monday (June 5), Microsoft has sent letters to various government departments raising concerns over the bidding process as India looks for a technology company that can run its government e-Marketplace portal, an online procurement platform for government entities to procure goods such as office equipment. Microsoft is reportedly concerned about the government’s call for open source software, and alleges that government entities are ignoring bidder queries.
Microsoft, Amazon, and Flipkart are just some of the companies reportedly in the running for the contract. But Microsoft is reportedly raising its concerns with the government, having sent letters to the prime minister’s office and the commerce ministry, reports said. Specifically, the company is concerned that the tender process is going against policy and procurement norms.
According to reports, government departments are ignoring bidders’ queries, and some departments are misinterpreting the open source software and cloud technologies defined by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for the purpose of the management of the eProcurement portal.
The Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal, which manages government procurement, confirmed to reporters that it received a letter from Microsoft but denied allegations made by Microsoft.
“Our core system has to be open source. We can’t go for proprietary software,” a DGS&D official said, refuting Microsoft’s claims that DGS&D has violated procurement norms.
The government e-Marketplace was launched last year to digitize and streamline government procurement. The company that wins the tender to manage the platform will earn about 0.5 percent of total transaction value on the portal, reports said.
Reports said DGS&D plans to release a revised request for proposal in the coming days to clarify and address concerns of bidders.