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Centre relaxes procurement, transportation norms for medical, essential supplies

New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) The Centre has relaxed guidelines for procurement and transportation of medical and other essential supplies to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Accordingly, the Department of Expenditure under the Ministry of Finance issued the guidelines on Monday for Ministry of Health, Civil Aviation, Textiles, Department of Pharmaceuticals and Department of Consumer Affairs.

The Expenditure Department in an office memorandum said that prevailing health emergency requires immediate procurement of certain items in quantity which may not be available with a single supplier or within the time frame in which they are needed.

“There is also a possibility that some items may not be available in the country in sufficient quantity within the timeframe in which they are needed. Certain items of equipment are currently in global short supply and are effectively in a ‘sellers’ market,” the memorandum said citing problems that might be encountered.

“There are also variations in specifications or quantity with the shutting down of international flights and surface transport routes, international procurement may have to be done through Indian missions.”

The memorandum said that given the national health emergency of unprecedented and historic scale, delays in procurement will result in loss of lives of citizens.

“Hence there is a paramount public interest in ensuring that the necessary supplies are procured in the fastest possible manner and financial procedures have to adapt accordingly,” it said.

In addition, the memorandum said that instructions issued on Monday will be in force till April 3th, 2020 or until superseded by another order.

–IANS

rv/sn/arm

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