HLL Lifecare Limited, a wholly-owned government company, appointed as a Procurement Support Agency (PSA) under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY) “failed miserably” to ensure timely delivery and installation of medical equipment, a parliamentary panel has said.
A department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Union Health Ministry in its 111th report on functioning of new AIIMS (phase-1) under PMMSY noted that it is “highly disappointed” of the PSA’s performance.
“The Committee is highly disappointed by the performance of PSA and recommends for a strong monitoring of the function of PSA along with quarterly submission of a status report on the procurement of medical devices/equipment to the Committee under the PMSSY scheme,” it said.
The committee chaired by Ram Gopal Yadav also cited the CAG report which observed that in six new AIIMS (Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jodhpur, Patna, Raipur and Rishikesh), 195 equipment costing Rs 72.04 crore, though received, were not installed due to reasons like pending civil work, non-availability of site, non-availability of skilled manpower etc.
The equipment were lying uninstalled in the AIIMS for the period ranging between three months and four years as of March 2017, it said.
In four new AIIMS (Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Patna and Rishikesh), there was delay ranging from 3 months to over three years in installation of 850 equipment costing Rs 76.40 crore, it noted while referring to the CAG report.
The Committee notes with concern that the role of PSA was to ensure timely procurement along with adherence to quality and price benchmarks but it has failed to do so, the panel said.
“The Committee notes that the PSA failed miserably in its task to ensure timely delivery and installation of the medical equipment. Reasons cited for non-installation of the medical equipment clearly highlight the fact that the PSA failed to coordinate with the institute that led to unnecessary delays,” the panel said.
The Committee said the PSA in collaboration with the institutes should have resolved the user requirement, site details and other specific requirements with respect to the medical equipment well in advance.
The Committee also noted that several medical devices and other equipment have been procured on a single bid basis in all the AIIMS while in cases where multiple bids were allowed, many companies were rejected on technical grounds.
“The Committee strongly underlines the need to follow a competitive tendering mechanism for procurement of any equipment rather than a single bid tender procurement. Downright rejection on technical grounds should be avoided and any such rejection, if made, should always be substantiated by a detailed evaluation,” it pointed out.
The requirement of US FDA certification for even some of the basic equipment is not only a burden on the exchequer but is also an outright contempt of the ‘Make in India’ campaign, it said.
“The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that procurement of equipment/medical devices by the institutes and the procurement agencies should be determined by quality, price and fair trade practice,” it said.
The Committee emphasized that “non-transparent” methods in tendering and award of contracts raises “high” chances of corruption, irregularities, non-value addition and encourage restrictive trade practices.
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