Microsoft is clearly not happy with the tender process of government against policy and procurement norms. The government had floated an RFP for design, development, operation, and maintenance of GeM on March 21, this year. A new and revised RFP is likely to be floated soon after concerns of various stakeholders.
According to the policy, “Government organizations shall ensure compliance with this requirement and decide by comparing both OSS (open source software) and CSS (closed source software) options with respect to capability, strategic control, scalability, security, lifetime costs and support requirements.”
As per the reports, Microsoft has sent a letter to Prime Minister’s Office and the Commerce Ministry addressing the issue. The letter specifically mentioned that the government departments are ignoring bidders’ queries, and some departments are misinterpreting the open source software and cloud technologies defined by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for the purpose of the management of the eProcurement portal.
A spokesperson from Microsoft said: “We confirm that Microsoft India had sent a letter to the government regarding the e-Marketplace project. The government has taken cognizance of the industry’s concerns and is looking at addressing them. We remain committed to the Digital India vision.”
While an official from the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposal (DGS&D) confirmed the receipt of the letter to ET, it has refuted all of Microsoft’s allegations. The DG&D currently handles all of the government’s procurement currently.
“Our core system has to be open source. We can’t go for proprietary software… There has to be some sense of continuity. We are very clear on that,” said the DGS&D official. He also rejected Microsoft’s contention that DGS&D violated ministry norms.
In a move to allay bidders’ concerns, DGS&D plans to issue a revised RFP this week through which it would address most of the concerns flagged by prospective vendors, the official said.
GeM was launched in August last year to make procurement more efficient for the government. The one who wins the bid to manage GeM could earn around 0.5% of the total transaction value as commission. Read more about Indian Startup Ecosytem.