Government ready with e-bidding platform for disinvestment

The government is ready with an electronic bidding system to make the public sector strategic sale process more transparent and will do away with paper bids that have been the norm.

The platform, which has been developed by state-run MSTC, will allow suitors for state-run companies to not just submit bids online but will encrypt them so that even the transaction advisers and government officials dealing with the sale cannot access them, Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary, department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM), told TOI.

In the past, MSTC has designed the bidding platform for several government transactions including coal auction. The latest platform has already been tested and was based on recommendations of the independent external monitoring group comprising former chief justice R C Lahoti, former comptroller and auditor general V K Shunglu and former chief vigilance commissioner P Shankar.

With strategic sale of several public sector companies, including Air India and oil marketing company BPCL entering critical phase, the platform will also help address concerns of government officials, who have been wary of action in the future, in case some issues come up in the future.

Officials have been reluctant to push ahead with the disinvestment plan following CAG observations and enquiries by the Central Bureau of Investigation years after the sale of some of the public sector companies by the Vajpayee government.

Pandey said DIPAM will focus on completing the strategic sale of PSUs that have been identified by the government with expression of interest for BPCL to be called for over the next few days.

ET Energy World
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