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PSUs told to sign up for graft-free purchases

Any state-owned company willing to adopt the Integrity Pact will have to sign a MoU with Transparency International's India office.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2008 10:21 PM IST

The Central Vigilance Commission has asked all public sector companies to consider signing an agreement that would help them ensure transparency, equity and competitiveness in procurement and contracting processes.

The proposed Integrity Pact is a tool that has been developed by the Belgium-based Transparency International in 1990 and aims to help governments, businesses and civil society that are prepared to fight corruption in the field of contracting and procurement.

Any state-owned company willing to adopt the Integrity Pact will have to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Transparency International's India office.

Of the 278 public sector companies that India, only 24 have signed the pact. These include Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Gas Authority and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited.

In a letter to the companies, the Commission said it "would recommend the Integrity Pact concept and encourage its adoption and implementation in respect of all major procurements and the government organizations,"
The pact contains rights and obligations to the effect that neither side will pay, offer, demand or accept bribes; collude with competitors to obtain the contract; or engage in such abuses while carrying out the contract.

The pact has also introduced a monitoring system that provides for independent oversight and accountability.

Such agreements encourage companies to refrain from bribing by providing assurance that their competitors will also do so, proponents of the pact say. By signing the pact governments and government officials also have the assurance of a clear framework that protects them from dubious offers, they say.

The Integrity Pact comes into effect from the moment bidders submit documents to any power PSUs and would end after the complete execution of the contract to the satisfaction of both the contracting parties.

External Independent Monitors (EIMs), drawn from a panel of eminent personalities would oversee the bidding process and resolve any disputes by any party as and when referred to.

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