Table of Contents
If you want to apply to government tenders in India and stand a chance at winning them, there are three things that you must pay attention to:
- The tender announcement or tender notice with details on the qualifications, requirements, due dates, tender fees and EMD, and more
- The list of tender documents with guidelines on how to prepare tender documents, tender document format (e.g., pdf), how to upload and download tender documents, and more
- The structure and format for writing an authentic tender bid proposal and submitting tenders online
There are several tender document samples that you can refer to for inspiration and guidance. The key here being authenticity, consistency, and relevancy.
In this article we look at some important aspects of preparing documents for government tenders and eProcurement to enable you to fill tender applications confidently and easily.
What is a tender document?
Let us begin by understanding the meaning of a tender document (for government contracts).
A tender document is a part of the tender notice and contains details on the tender invitation to businesses (suppliers) to bid for and supply goods and services to the government. The announcement of the tender is done on the Central Public Procurement Portal of GoI and the Government eMarketplace (GeM portal), to keep it fair, transparent, and accessible.
Previously, all announcements were published on newspapers and other platforms available to the public. However, with the trend towards digitisation and e-tendering, all government bodies and PSUs today announce tenders online via the e-Procurement portal.
When the Tender Inviting Authority (TIA) floats a tender, the announcement comes with tender details and tender documents that highlights the nature and scope of work, bidder’s eligibility and qualifications, the required goods and/or services, the due dates, any technical criteria or special requirements, bidder’s obligations, and other relevant details.
• Scope of the tender
• Key terms and conditions
• Bidder’s eligibility, qualifications, and obligations
• Tender requirements, technical criteria, and financials (BOQ)
• Tender fees and Earnest Money Deposit (EMD)
• Due dates, tender submission and selection process, tender format
• And more
In short, a tender document lists end-to-end details about a tender that you must know if you want to bid for a particular government tender and stand a chance to win tenders on GeM or CPPP.
How to find the list of tender documents?
Government departments and PSUs announce thousands of tenders every month. For a MSME owner, it can be a daunting task to keep track of latest tender announcements.
To stay updated on the latest tender notices, you should:
- Register on the government portals (e-Procurement system and GeM portal) for tender information
- Register on a reliable tender website for regular alerts on relevant tenders (e.g., you can try taking a subscription to Tata nexarc’s Tenders & Quotations and get email/SMS alerts on relevant tenders for your business)
Once you register on the e-procurement portal you can filter and search for the latest online tenders. Follow the simple steps:
- Visit the eProcurement system official website
- Login to the portal for a better experience
- Check the panel on the left to select tenders by organisation, classification, location and more (Note: The latest tenders are available under the latest tender header)
- Fill in the search filter details and captcha for the list of relevant tenders
- Select the relevant tender and view details on tender opening and closing date, tender ID etc.
- Click the link to view more details including tender type (e.g., open tender), tender category (e.g., services), EMD fees, work item details, and tender documents
- Download tender documents pdf file (i.e., tender notice pdf) and the zip file to get all details (Note: The zip file usually contains the Bill Of Quantity – BOQ Excel – if not it should be downloaded separately for updating financial details)
Note: The process of finding tenders and the documentation process may vary between buyers and platforms (GeM portal vs e-Procurement system). In this article, we have focused on the basic requirements for the e-Procurement platform. Also, remember to check the state eProcurement portals for tenders by state.
How to prepare tender documents?
There are several initiatives being undertaken by the government to encourage micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India to participate in the government eProcurement system. Almost 20-25% of all government procurement contracts are awarded to MSMEs to enable them to grow their business and build trust and credibility.
However, preparation of tender documents for government contracts should not be taken lightly. It requires detailing, accuracy, and adherence to guidelines. Whether you are working on a PWD tender document or tender document for construction, it is important to take note of the general and special requirements for the contract and write your bid proposals accordingly.
Listed below are some of the steps to follow to fill tender documents for submission.
1. Login to the e-Procurement portal
If you want to apply to government contracts, you will need to upload the tender documents in the relevant portals – in this case, you will have to have to login to the government eProcurement site (eprocure.gov.in).
You can login using your existing credentials or create a new account. Creating an account is simple and can be done within minutes using basic personal details (e.g., name, DoB, designation, mobile number, etc.) and professional details (e.g., business email, PAN/TAN, company address, etc.).
2. Keep all required tender documents in one place
You are likely to apply to multiple government tenders simultaneously. So, create folders to store documents that can be accessed when required.
- Maintain one folder with all the common documents required for government tenders in India that you need to submit during tender bids, e.g., ITR for last two-three years, MSME Udyam registration certificate, PAN card, project lists, PF and ESI, sales tax, etc.
- Update this folder with the latest documents to avoid last minute confusion, e.g., ITR updated annually, new licenses, certifications, work history reports etc.
- Add relevant image (jpeg) and PDF copies of all commonly required tender documents
- Create new folders for every new government tender you are applying to
- Name the folders using a simple nomenclature such as <Tender Invitation Authority name>_<Location>_<Closing date> to ensure you have the details right and don’t miss the last date
3 . Read tender qualifying requirements
Once you download e-tender documents pdf you will have to read them and find the relevant details. Follow the steps to read the tender documents:
- Ensure all the files are in a readable/editable format (e.g., extract all RAR files into readable formats)
- Open the tender notice (pdf file) or Request For Quote (RFQ) and scroll to the section with details on the tender documents list (in cases where tenders run into several pages, try using the search functionality)
- Identify any special requirements for the tender (e.g., specific licenses or certifications, technical criteria on quality standards, machinery and equipment used etc.) and evaluate eligibility
- Read the fine print on financial and monetary details (e.g., tender fees, EMD – usually MSMEs are exempted from paying EMD, minimum annual turnover to validate business’s financial health for undertaking the project etc.)
- Note the closing dates, clarification dates, and other special requirements (e.g., consignee details)
Today, with online tenders, all document submissions are done through single tender document upload. However, you will need to:
- Ensure all tender documents are converted in the requested format (e.g., pdf) and saved in a single folder (use a pdf converter for the same)
- Enable macros for viewing and updating the BOQ information (i.e., Bidder’s name, company name, basic unit price, packing charges, freight etc.)
- Save all files in sentence case without any spaces between words (e.g., for PAN card save file as PANcard)
Closing thoughts: Taking the next step towards tender application
As a bidder, your goal should be to fill in the tender documents accurately and submit a fully compliant bid, i.e. tenders vs quotations.
Though the interfaces of the e-procurement portal and GeM portal are different, the process of preparing tender documents remain the same. When filling and submitting the tender documents, take note of the special requirements, additional documents required, or any other details, to ensure that your bid is not rejected on technical grounds.
Also Read: Tender and bidding?
Frequently Asked Question – Is the tender document fee refunded?
- If the tender is cancelled before opening, the fee is returned
- If the tender is rejected on technical grounds, the tender fee is not returned (unless specified otherwise)
- If the tender documents are not submitted, but the fee is paid, the fee is retuned
To ace the process, try following this simple tender document checklist to ensure that you are able to submit a winning tender bid:
- Build a team to regularly follow up on active tenders and apply to the relevant ones
- Take note of all important dates, special requirements, and terms and conditions
- Use design elements when filling the proposal to make it visually appealing (e.g., graphs, charts, infographics etc.)
- Get your bid proposal reviewed to ensure that no important detail is missed
- Seek professional help when required e.g., for GeM portal registration, bid consulting, DSC generation etc.