Focus on GFR Compliance for Goods and Services

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) issued a circular (File no. IFD/Fin./Circulars-Part(1) C No. 54605/2676) dated 18th July 2023 to all its associated offices and authorities. The circular emphasizes the compliance of provisions outlined in the General Financial Rules (GFR) for the procurement of goods and services.

EPFO highlights the importance of public procurement and the significance of following GFR guidelines, which were last revised in 2017. The organization also mentions the availability of comprehensive guidelines and manuals on procurement of goods, consultancy, and works, which have been updated up to specific dates in 2022. These manuals can be accessed on various government websites.

Procurement of Goods and Services – compliance of GFR provisions

EMPLOYEES’ PROVIDENT FUND ORGANISATION
MINISTRY OF LABOUR & EMPLOYMENT, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Head Office, Bhavishya Nidhi Bhawan, 14, Bhikaiji Cama Place,
New Delhi-110 066. www.epfindia.gov.in / www.epfindia.nic.in

File no. IFD/Fin./Circulars-Part(1) (C No. 54605/2676

Dated: 18 JUL 2023

To,

All ACC-HQ (HO/Zones)/ Director (PDNASS)/ All ACC (HO/Zones)
All RPFC-I/RPFC-II/OICs

Subject: Procurement of Goods and Services – compliance of GFR provisions-reg.

Reference: 1) H.O. Letter No. IFD/Misc/Circulars/2022-14118 dated 15.11.2022
2) H.O. Letter No. IFD/Misc/Circulars/2022-14773 dated 08.12.2022
3) H.O. Letter No. IFD/Fin/misc.matter 2021/Part (1)/16056 dated 07.02.2023

Madam/Sir,

Public procurement is one of the important work area, public servants have to deal on day to day basis. The broad guidelines for such procurement have been laid down in General Financial Rules (GFR), which has been revised from time to time and lastly in 2017. Besides, comprehensive guidelines, incorporating procurement related instructions issued from time to time, has been compiled/updated by the DoE in collaboration with Central Vigilance Commission and the following updated Manuals have been released:

(i) Manual for procurement of Goods (updated up to July, 1st 2022),

(ii) Manual for procurement of Consultancy & other Services and (updated upto July, 1st 2022)

(iii) Manual for procurement of Works (updated up to July, 18 2022).

  1. These manuals are available in public domain (on DoE website: https://doe.gov.in and CVC Website: https://cvc. gov.in/guidelines/tender-guidelines) and also on EPFO website (www.epfindia.gov.in) in Circular Section at SI. N. 265 of 2022-23, which can be referred for further guidance in the matter.
  2. Further, as you are aware, Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is already in place for public procurement of Goods and Services. As per GFR 149, the Ministries/Departments of Gol should mandatorily procure Goods and Services available on GeM, from GeM only.
  3. Directions have been issued by the Cabinet secretary, Gol vide D.O. No. 1/12/1/2022-Cab dated 14.09.2022 that concerted efforts be made by Ministries/Departments, PSUs and attached/subordinate/filed offices to target 100% procurement of goods and services through GeM.
  4. These Instructions/Guidelines/Directions have been circulated and reiterated by Head Office from time to time.
  5. It is once again requested that the procurement divisions of field offices (e.g., ZOs/ROs) and Head Office (e.9., ASD/PID/ISD/C&PR) should strictly follow the guidelines/instructions issued by Govt. of India as well as this Office from time to time. Some of key suggestions are reiterated for necessary reference:
  • Examine if any incidence of violation of GFR Rule and/or CVC Guidelines has occurred in their jurisdictional office(s) and take immediate corrective measures to set right the same.
  • Ensure that relevant GFR Provisions on non-splitting of demands are strictly complied and intentional splitting of procurement(s) into smaller quantities in order to avoid higher onetime payment or higher level approval; are avoided. (Reference: GFR 149 (viii), GFR 157, GFR:194 (v)]
  • Efforts are made to make 100% procurement of goods and services available on GeM, through GeM only (Reference: GFR:149).
  • Reasons for procurement outside GeM may be recorded in file with full justification.
  • Goods/Services not available on GeM may be referred to GeM authority for including the same on GeM portal.
  • As regards procurement of other (non-consultancy) services, the period of
  • contract need not be very short or lengthy. In the normal course, the period of initial contract may be fixed normally for two years. (Reference: Para 9.4 of the ‘Manual for procurement of Consultancy & other Services).
  • Repeated extension of contract should be avoided and it should not be more than two times – first for two years and then for one year subject to satisfactory service certificate and justifications to be recorded in file.
  • Public Procurement manuals i.e. Manual for procurement of Goods, Manual for procurement of Consultancy & other Services and Manual for procurement of Works, released by Govt. of India in July, 2022, as available in public domain, may be referred for further guidance in the matter.
  • The administrative Authorities in the field offices and Head Office should take utmost care to ensure compliance of relevant GFR provisions, CVC guidelines and availability of Fund in the appropriate budget head, while approving the proposals for procurement;

(This issues with the approval of FA & CAQ)

Yours’ faithfully,

Enclosures: As above.

(M S K V V Satyanarayana)
Addl. Central P.F. Commissioner (F&A)

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