The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has been promoting integrity, transparency, equity and competitiveness in transactions by various organizations of the Government of India. Public procurement is a major area of concern for the CVC, and many steps have been taken to put proper systems in place. In this context, Integrity Pact (IP), a tool conceptualized and promoted by Transparency International, an international NGO, aimed at preventing corruption in public contracting, has been found to be useful.
It has been decided by Ministry of Shipping that all organizations under the Ministry will implement IP. IP should cover all tenders / procurements above a specified threshold value. The threshold value of contracts / procurements / transactions incorporating IP would be such that it covers 95% by value of all contracts / procurements / transactions of the organization in the last 3 years.
IP essentially envisages an agreement between prospective vendors / bidders, and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), committing the persons / officials of both sides not to resort to any corrupt practice in any aspect of the contract at any stage. Only those vendors / bidders, who commit themselves to IP with CSL, would be considered competent to participate in the bid process. Any violation would entail disqualification of the bidders and exclusion from future business dealings. IP, in respect of a particular contract should cover all phases of the contract, from the stage of Notice inviting Tender (NIT) / pre-bid stage, till the conclusion of the contract, ie., final payment or the warranty / guarantee period.
Purchase / procurement wing of CSL would be the focal point for implementing IP. Vigilance office would be responsible for review, enforcement, and reporting on vigilance issues.
IP would be implemented through Independent External Monitors (IEMs), who are eminent persons appointed by the organization, with approval of CVC. The term of appointment for an IEM would be 3 years. Name of the IEM will be mentioned in NIT.
The IEM would review independently and objectively assess, as to whether and to what extent parties have complied with their obligations under the IP. IEM would have access to all contract documents, whenever required. The bidders may raise disputes / complaints if any , with the IEM. The IEMs would examine complaints received by them and give their recommendations / views to the CMD, CSL. Recommendations of IEMs would be in the nature of advice and would not be legally binding. Their role is independent in nature and the advice once tendered would not be subject to review at the request of the organization.
Shri. Om Prakash Singh, IPS (Retd) and Shri. Jagadip Narayan Singh, IAS (Retd.) have been appointed as Independent External Monitors of Cochin Shipyard Limited.
Implementation of Integrity Pact is envisaged to raise the standards of ethical practice in CSL.