Adam, I., Tóth, B., Dávid-Barret, E., Fazekas, M. (2020). India’s Federal Procurement Data Infrastructure: Observations and Recommendations. GTI-R/2020:1, Budapest: Government Transparency Institute.
Improving transparency in public procurement, that is publishing more and better-quality data, supports accountability by enabling greater scrutiny over processes and outcomes as well as helping to achieve greater competition and better value for money. In India, according to the Ministry of Finance General Financial Rules (2017), all procuring authorities are responsible and accountable for ensuring transparency, fairness, equality, competition and appeal rights in contracting. The transparency principle is about making information easily accessible to the public: it prescribes that all procuring entities should ensure the publication of all relevant information on the Central Public Procurement Portal (CPPP).
Despite the General Financial Rules’ formal requirement for transparency, we found that the Indian federal public procurement data that we could collect from public sources was insufficient for robust analysis. Besides a number of technical difficulties, the key problem is that many contract awards are not published; their publication seems not to be monitored or enforced, and most contract awards are missing. This makes rigorous analysis impossible since it is likely that our sample is biased and, moreover, it is impossible to determine the nature of any bias.
Given the Indian government’s commitment to the transparency principle, this report seeks to inform future reforms in three ways, by providing: (i) a description of our data collection efforts and our (incomplete) dataset; (ii) our observations on the current data infrastructure; and (iii) a set of recommendations for how to make the data more accessible and usable for analysis in future.