New Delhi: A UN body has recommended that private sector entity and its officials operating under a public-private partnership be considered as "public officials" as they are deemed to provide public function and services.
"It is recommended that the private sector entity and its officials operating under a PPP be included in the definition of 'Public Officials' as they are deemed to provide a public function, service and also act on behalf of the government in a specific area," United Nations Office on Drug and Crime said in a report.
The report 'India: Probity in Public Procurement' said this would allow officials for greater accountability, transparency and also obligations to be fulfilled under the Right to Information Act and other obligations applicable to public officials.
Stating that India now has no clear rules for regulating PPP projects, it said the Public Procurement Bill, 2012 and Draft Rules for Public Private Partnerships, 2011, could put India well on the way to achieving comprehensive legislative coverage for probity in public procurement.
"While an important recommendation of this report is swift enactment of this bill and rules for PPPs since they are compliant with United Nations Convention Against Corruption... there is a need for regulation of personnel with procurement functions like conducting risk assessments and improved selection procedures to be followed for certain posts for those involved in procurement," it said.
"In case of violation of bidders, along with penalties or debarment, the bidding entity must be required to show evidence of establishing and putting in place an integrity mechanism within specific guidelines before they are allowed to bid again," it added.
The report also suggested that since Public Procurement Bill 2012 is mainly applicable for Central government procurement, there is a need for other issues to develop similar legislations or policies.
"This is especially so for states that have a high volumes of procurement and PPPs," it said.
First Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 18:19