Procurement is one of the most important activities of the Government of India and significant funding is spent towards procuring goods/services/work contracts through various types of tenders. The government has now made the tender process completely online through the e-Tendering system. Formerly known as the e-Procurement system, the e-Tendering system helps the government publish and invite bids and award tender contracts online.
Currently, eTenders are hosted on the government eTendering portals – Central Public Procurement Portal (CPPP) and Government eMarketplace (GeM). The CPPP and GeM are now integrated. All centre and state government ministries/departments post their tender requirements on these two platforms. In the FY 2021 budget speech, the finance minister had proposed to create a unified procurement system in the country which will feature all the government tenders on a single platform to eliminate the current challenges in the tendering process and make the tender bidding process more convenient.
What is the tendering process?
Tender process in India involves a standard procedure regardless of the e-Tendering portal a business enrolls on. Here are the tender process steps that is followed for awarding government contracts:
- Find relevant tenders on CPPP or GeM portal
- Prepare the tender response
- Submit the tender bid on the e-Tender portal
- Check tender status as bids are evaluated by nodal officers appointed by the concerned government departments
- Get notification if contract is awarded (or check the ‘Bid Awards’ section on the CPPP to see the results of tenders)
This is the basic outline of how a tender process works in India. Let us dive into the details of this e-Tendering process:
Finding relevant tenders
All tender invitations can be found on CPPP and GeM portal. You can also use e-Tender websites that give you regular updates on the latest government tenders. Platforms like Tata nexarc’s Tenders also help you to stay updated on the latest government eTender notices. By activating a subscription to Tenders, you can update your settings and get email/SMS recommendations on tenders matching your business needs.
To find relevant tenders, you should visit the CPPP portal. The homepage of the portal has an option called ‘Search a tender’. Clicking on this option will lead you to a dropdown menu with options including ‘Latest active tenders’, ‘Global tenders’, ‘High value tenders’, ‘Tender Search’, etc.
If you have a specific tender in mind you will have to choose the ‘Tender Search’ option. Here you can search tenders by organisation, product category and the location of the tender. You can even type in a few keywords to search for a relevant tender.
Preparation of the tender response
Analyse the tender requirements given in the tender notice before preparing the tender response. Businesses that fill most of the requirements have more chances of winning the bid. The format of preparing the tender response will be given in the tender requirement. The tender notice will also indicate the criteria of evaluation explaining the evaluation and assessment process for selecting the winning bidder. These two factors are the two important things to keep in mind while preparing a tender response.
Submitting the tender bid on the e-Tender portal
Once you have filled in the tender response document you can proceed to submit your tender application online. There are documents to be attached along with the tender response which will be specified in the RFT. These documents include business registration documents, MSME registration documents, proof of production capacity, etc. All these documents must be attached with your application for it to reach the evaluation stage. There will also be a tender processing fee and Earnest Money Deposit that will have to be paid while you bid for the tender.
Evaluation of bids by nodal officers
Nodal officers who have been appointed to oversee the tender process will go through each bid. They will assess the tender responses on technical, financial and other factors. Once they are done evaluating all the bids, they choose the best bid and announce it on the e-Tendering portal.
In the meantime, you can also check the status of a tender online by visiting the CPP portal. All relevant updates are present online for bidders to see and stay aware.
Awarding contract to the winning bidder
After the winning bidder is announced the work contract is finalised. A contract is drawn up and signed by the respective parties with the time of commencement of the project, costs involved, etc. The winning bidder is required to pay a security deposit before the contract is set to begin.
Make sure that you read the terms and conditions written in the tender notice. Terms and conditions will mention important information like the scope of work, commencement and completion details, required tender documents, taxes and charges of the project, etc.
For example, to participate in a government e-Tendering process in India you will need to sign up to CPPP portal and possess a Class III Digital Signature Certificate.
How to sign up on CPPP
Enrolling on CPPP will ensure that you can access all the tender published by the Government of India. All Government Departments are expected to upload all tender enquiries and bid awards to the website.
How to sign up on CPPP
- Go to the CPPP website and click on ‘Online Bidder Enrollment’
- Fill the form
- Click on submit
All bidders need to possess a valid Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) to participate in e-Tendering. The bidder becomes a valid bidder only after the registration of the DSC. Here are the steps to register your DSC on CPPP.
- Insert your DSC smart card or USB token into your computer
- Go to CPPP website and navigate to the User Management section in the menu on the left-hand side of the home page.
- Click on My Accounts and go to User DSC Enrolment
- Tap on ‘Signing Certificate’ appearing on the User DSC Enrolment page
- The screen that appears will list the DSCs present on the smart card or the token inserted
- Select the name of the DSC you want to register and click on Ok.
Finding relevant tenders is a pain point for many MSMEs. Approximately 12000 to 17000 tenders are announced every day in India, therefore you might even miss out on a tender invite. It is therefore a good practice to:
- Register on a tender portal to receive daily alerts on new tender notices
- Assign a dedicated resource or time to check all tender announcements
The online tendering process was introduced to keep tendering hassle-free. Today, MSMEs and start-ups participation in e-Tendering process has scaled significantly. So, if you are looking at growing your business, try applying for government tenders and accelerate growth for your business.