GUWAHATI, Oct 11 - Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia on Friday called for scrapping of the ongoing procurement process adopted by the state�s Social Welfare and Education departments for uniforms, shoes and schoolbags.
In a letter to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Saikia called for initiation of a fresh process on a decentralised basis and an investigation to ascertain culpability for the dubious policy.
Saikia said that since the items meant for school children are supplied to the Anganwadi centres, and as such, the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) Financial Management and Procurement (FMP) guidelines should be followed by the Social Welfare Department for the sake of transparency.
The Leader of Opposition said that both the departments have stipulated �absurd and exaggerated criteria of solvency and experience, with the intention of depriving local traders, including tailors and cloth merchants and facilitating centralised procurement�.
�Both the departments have contravened guidelines mentioned in the SSA FMP Manual of the Government of India regarding procurement of such items. The FMP Manual stipulates criteria for procurement of such items up to an amount of Rs 30 lakh, which are easy to fulfil by sellers/suppliers registered on the GeM (Government e-Marketplace) portal,� he said.
Pointing out that there were less than 100 students in most schools and Anganwadi centres of Assam, and hence the cost of supplying uniforms and other items would only be about Rs 1 lakh per unit, Saikia questioned why both departments ignored the SSA FMP guidelines and opted for centralised procurement.