NEW DELHI: Railways are all set to rope in IT major TCS for streamlining the e-tendering process to infuse transparency. The move comes after railway minister Suresh Prabhu received the interim report from one-man committee headed by former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan.

A senior official said the online tendering would help cut red-tape, check corruption and speed up implementation of projects.

The cash-strapped transporter is struggling with huge pendency of projects worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore, which is eating up its resources.

As of now, tenders related to procurement are online and managed through a software developed by state-owned Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), while a large number of tenders for construction are managed manually, leaving scope for manipulation, said a senior railway official.

Soon after getting the report, Prabhu initiated the process for putting in place a proper system and procedure to ensure accountability and transparency.

“The recommendations of the Sreedharan committee are implemented. Now, the minister will not deal with tenders,” Prabhu told TOI. “Powers will be delegated to zonal heads (General Managers) and divisional heads (DRMs),” he said.

The minister said Sreedharan himself called the move a ‘watershed’ in the history of Indian Railways. He praised Sreedharan for adhering to the timeline and submitting the interim report within 15 days.

The Sreedharan panel was tasked to suggest a set of procedures to be followed for the tendering processes to ensure transparency and accountability.

The committee was appointed as the railways planned radical reforms to attract private and foreign investment for its mega projects and infuse transparency. It was also felt by the new dispensation that widespread corruption and manipulation had discouraged private players to invest in rail infrastructure.

The report of another committee, headed by noted economist Bibek Debroy, is awaited. The panel was asked to suggest ways to restructure the board to ensure faster decision-making. It also has to suggest ways to ensure objectivity in decision-making. Additionally, it has to recommend ways to raise finances.

On the human resources front, the committee has to suggest ways to ensure migration of officials between railways and other departments.

Source: TOI