E-tendering: Haryana hikes limit for village works on quotation basis to ₹5 lakh
The panchayats can get works done on quotation basis for an amount of ₹25 lakh in a financial year or up to 50% of gram fund, including grants-in-aid, whichever is lower.
In an effort to buy peace with gram panchayat heads who are on warpath with the state government over its decision to award tenders for village development works through electronic mode, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday said the state government has decided to increase the proposed financial limit for development works on quotation basis from ₹2 lakh to ₹5 lakh. The modification means that panchayats will be able to get works costing ₹5 lakhs or less on quotation basis executed without going through the electronic tendering process.
As per a draft of Haryana Panchayati Raj Finance, Budget, Accounts, Audit, Taxation and Works (Amendment) Rules, 2023, which was put in the public domain for suggestions and objections on February 7, the development and panchayats department had proposed that a tender would mean an offer by a contractor for undertaking a development work awarded through electronic mode only. The proposed amendment rules also said that works costing above ₹2 lakh shall be executed through electronic tender by gram panchayat, panchayat samiti, zila parishad or executive engineer, as the case may be, subject to technical approval as per schedule A. The February 7 draft rules primarily meant that village panchayats could only get works costing ₹2 lakhs or less on quotation basis without going through the electronic tendering process.
The move was opposed by the sarpanches who said it amounted to curtailing the powers of the gram panchayats. Following demonstrations, a representative body of sarpanches was last week invited for a meeting with the chief minister and top officials of the state government to resolve the issue. However, no agreement could be reached.
‘ ₹25 lakh annual cap for works without e-tendering’
The chief minister on Wednesday announced at a press briefing that besides increasing the limit of village development works which can be undertaken without electronic tendering from ₹2 lakh to ₹5 lakh, the panchayats can get works done on quotation basis for a total amount of ₹25 lakh in a financial year or up to 50 percent of the gram fund whichever is lower.
Sarpanch body still dissatisfied, CM says majority on govt side
Reacting to CM’s announcement, Haryana sarpanch association president Ranbir Singh Samain on Wednesday said they were not satisfied with the modifications announced by the chief minister. “It is an attempt to mislead us. One can’t even get a village lane constructed with ₹5 lakhs. The intention of the government is to promote thekedari pratha (contract system). We will continue to protest and stick to our plans to gherao the state assembly on March 17,” said Samain.
The CM, however, claimed majority of gram panchayats were on board. “Out of 6,217 gram panchayats across the state, 5,048 have passed resolutions for executing development works. Only 1,169 panchayats have some reservations. Proposals for 9,418 works costing less than ₹2 lakh have been received from these panchayats,” the CM said.
Khattar said the government has strengthened the hands of sarpanches with e-tendering, which will bring transparency in development works and works will be completed in a time-bound manner.
Honorariums of sarpanches increased
The CM also announced to increase the honorariums of sarpanches from ₹3,000 to ₹5,000 and of panches from ₹1,000 to ₹1,600. The honorariums will be linked with dearness allowance on the lines of government employees. The sarpanch will also be able to record his comments in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of the Gram Sachiv.
The CM asked the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) representatives to upload proposals for development works worth ₹1,100 crore allocated for the last quarter of this financial year before March 31. Of these, ₹800 crore was allocated to gram panchayats, ₹165 crore to block samitis and ₹110 crore to zila parishads, he said.
Quality assurance authority on the anvil
Khattar said that a social audit system will also be established in six months to check the quality of development works. Apart from this, a quality assurance authority is also being established. “The development works are done as per Haryana Schedule Rate and DC rate. If any sarpanch wishes to get the work done at a rate lower than the DC rate, then the information will have to be pasted outside the office of the block development officer,” he said.
Khattar said the panchayat tax being levied on electricity bills will be given to panchayats from April 1 along with the arrears. Out of this, pending electricity bills of panchayats will be deducted and paid every quarter. He said the amount of one percent stamp duty on the sale of property in each gram panchayat will be given to them.
The CM said former sarpanches, who have not handed over records to the present sarpanches, should do so immediately. He said an investigation is underway against 1,100 sarpanches of the previous tenure of panchayats.