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Indian Railways is one of top government buyers and releases railway tenders for various procurement needs. It has around 16 zonal railway divisions catering to the nationwide network and these divisions have their diverse requirements that are fulfilled through the e-tendering process. Additionally, Indian railway tenders are floated for their manufacturing units with regards to procurement of manufacturing and other allied products. In short, right from catering needs to complex manufacturing requirements, from railway station shops to discarding scrap, most of the needs are fulfilled through tenders by Indian Railways.
A railway e tender contract therefore, can be a lucrative business opportunity for you. This article will explain where to find Indian railway’s eTenders, how to apply for railway tender online, the railway tender process, and documents required for railway tender application.
Where can you find railway tenders?
In order to list railways’ procurement needs, it has established the Indian Railways e-Procurement System [IREPS]. It is a portal where you can find information on railway eTenders, e-auction sale, leasing requirements and so on. For more information. visit the official website: ireps.gov.in/
One can also log on to CPPP to find tenders from the Ministry of Railways. You can also explore the Government e-Marketplace, and search for railway tenders on GeM portal (look for CPPP tenders >> Ministry of Railways).
Alternatively, you can find relevant tenders related to your business on Tata nexarc. You can easily register your business on Tata nexarc and activate a subscription for Tenders. This will enable you to receive information on tenders matching to your business needs on regular basis and never miss a suitable tendering opportunity.
How to apply for railway tenders?
1. Explore the railway e tender portal
Browse through tenders on IREPS portal and browse through the list of Indian railway tenders. There are tenders from different zonal railway divisions for varied procurement needs and you will need to add filters to your search to identify the tenders suitable for you.
These requirements range across catering, platform shop vending, manufacturing, engineering, safety and security, and so on. The secret is to understand the requirements and shortlist those that you are eligible for.
2. Understand the tender requirements
Read the tender document carefully. Before you start preparing the response document read through all the documents provided along with the tender.
For example, instruction to bidder for e-tenders, general tender conditions, Indian Railways Standard [IRS] conditions of contract, etc. Make a note of eligibility criteria, last day of bid submission, required documents, tender fees amount, etc. Make a checklist of all the things you need for filing the tender.
Note – Railways have very specific eligibility requirements. Ensure you understand them and have the documents required for railway tender bidding. Alternatively, consider tenders that have sub-contracting options.
3. Submit techno-commercial offer form
Bidders need to fill and submit techno-commercial offer form [consisting of eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, performance statement, deviation statement, checklist and special conditions etc.], financial offer form and attach scanned copy of necessary documents.
4. Submit the required fees
Indian Railways generally request to deposit tender fees and submit the receipt along with the bid document (read here to learn the difference between tender and bid document). Schedule money deposit in a manner so that you can submit the receipt on or before the deadline.
Check if your business is exempted from depositing tender fee. For example, often, NSIC registered MSMEs are exempted from depositing tender fees however, they need to submit the proof the registration.
If necessary, pay earnest money deposit [EMD]. Save the receipt of the same as you would need it while submitting your bid online. If you do not win the contract, EMD is refunded after finalisation of vendor for the said contract. However, if the bidder withdraws or revises the offer, EMD is forfeited.
5. Prepare quote for railway tender bid
Check the financial offer form and prepare your quote in accordance with the format. While you are crunching numbers to quote a price in tender, work smart. In the attempt to be the lowest bidder, do not quote a price that is unsustainable for your business.
Once you gather all necessary information such as required documents, quotation, certificates, money deposit receipts, etc., fill in the forms carefully. Review your document before submitting it finally.
Note: In case of eTendering (i.e., railway tender online), Indian Railways does not accept physical submission of bid documents. Bidders need to submit all documents online.
Here’s a snapshot of the railway tender process:
Railway tenders eligibility
Eligibility criteria for railway tenders vary depending on the scope of work. For example, some tenders may only be open for companies with a certain turnover. On the other hand, technical tenders require minimum plant capacity and capabilities like quality control and testing. Some tenders are only open for companies having similar work experience and need to produce proof of the same.
In simple words, each railway tender is unique, and the eligibility criteria differ. Therefore, bidders should check the criteria beforehand.
Alternatively, bidders also need to check exemption rules. For example, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade [DPIIT] registered startups are exempted from the work experience criteria.
Documents required for railway tender bid
Here is a list of some of the common documents required for government tender application. In most cases, documents requested for e-tendering are similar. They relate to the company’s capabilities, work experience, plant size, team members, certificates, financial condition etc. However, in the case of railway tenders, there are additional documents requested, and its recommended for bidders to collate all documents in one place before uploading it to the portal.
Listed below are some of the commonly asked documents required for railway tender:
- Filled-in techno-commercial offer form and financial offer form
- Digital signature certificate class III for digitally signing the forms
- Details of machinery and plant and other facilities such quality management, testing facilities, etc.
- Proofs of depositing EMD and tender fee
- Copy of PAN card
- Udyam registration certificate
- NSIC registration certificate
- Address proof of the business
- Proof of turnover for the specified period
- Scanned copy of Registration and Dealer/Registered Supplier Certificate, Partnership deed, if any.
- Scanned copy of GST returns for the specified period.
- Scanned copy of completed orders for a specified period
- Detailed project plan/ response to tender specifying products, materials, and work required.
Note: It is recommended to check the list of documents for each tender as the list may vary depending on procurement requirements.
Taking the next step with Indian railway tenders
- Register your business on the railway tender portal or a reliable tender website to get alerts and stay notified on new tender announcements. Read them carefully and shortlist at the earliest so that you get more time to collate documents and other required information.
- Bid for tenders from your zone to offer value-for-money quotes and increase your chances of winning railway tender bids. Indian Railways has around 16 zonal divisions. Apply for tenders released by the nearest zonal division to you. For example, if your business is based out of the west zone and you wish to bid for tenders by Eastern Railway, logistical and transportation cost may add up to your quote making it non-competitive. When you do not win the contract, you lose tender fees as well (also read about the difference between tender and contract).
- Get your documentation is right. Insufficient documentation leads to tender rejection. This is not only for railway tenders but tendering in general. Eliminate any errors that may cause rejection of the tender application.
- Do not withdraw or revise the details after submission. Check all details before you submit your application. Understand the railway tender process and don’t make changes to your bid once the application is submitted.