In a boost for small entrepreneurs and start-ups, the railways has brought its commercial earning and non-fare revenue contracts online, with no financial turnover requirement for annual contracts of up to Rs 40 lakh.
In line with the prevailing e-auction of scrap sale, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw launched e-auction for commercial earning and non-fare revenue (NFR) contracts on Friday.
''This policy is in line with the vision of the prime minister to change the experience of the common man by the use of technology. With this new policy, the tedious process of tendering would get simplified. Also, it would give opportunities to youngsters to join the e-auction process. This policy enhances ease of living, promotes transparency and adds to Digital India initiatives in the railways,'' Vaishnaw said.
The earning assets up for auction will be parcel vans, pay-and-use toilets, advertisement rights on station circulating areas and coaches, air-conditioned waiting rooms, cloak rooms, parking lots, plastic bottle crushers, ATMs, station co-branding, video screens for content on demand etc.
These assets will be mapped location-wise on the portal once and the system will remember forever if it is covered for earning or not. This will improve the monitoring of assets on a real-time basis and minimise asset-idling.
Participation in e-tendering currently requires physical registration with the field unit concerned. It takes time in finalisation due to the requirement of physical meeting of the tender committee members.
In the e-auction process, a bidder from anywhere in the country needs to self-register once for participating in the auctions of any field unit of the Indian Railways through the portal. Bids can be placed remotely for the management rights of an asset after depositing the earnest money (EMD) electronically.
A successful bidder would be able to receive acceptance online and through e-mail in a very short span of time. Except the requirement of financial turnover, as such all the eligibility criteria have been removed.
''Further, the financial requirement has been relaxed to a great extent. There is no financial turnover requirement for annual contracts of up to Rs 40 lakh,'' the minister said.
A pilot for the project was launched in 11 divisions of nine railway zones. A total of 80 contracts of a combined value of Rs 128 crore were finalised during the pilot launch.
During the pilot run, the Ahmedabad division had conducted an e-auction for two parking lots at Gandhidham Junction and Himmatnagar on June 4. For Gandhidham Junction (GIMB), 24 bids were received with the highest one being Rs 12.6 lakh (per annum), which is 38 per cent above the conventional bidding price. For Himmatnagar (HMT), 26 bids were received with the highest one being Rs 62,500 (per annum), which is 72 per cent above the conventional bidding price.
The e-auction will be conducted online through the ''E-Auction Leasing'' module of IREPS -- www.ireps.gov.in.
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