ICT in Coal Sector in India

An e-Procurement system has helped us reap major benefits and has also benefitted our suppliers

By Ashok Kumar Singh,
Director (Technical), Project & Planning, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd

Established in 1992, Mahanadi Coalfilelds Ltd (MCL) is a subsidiary of Coal India Ltd. Headquartered at Sambalpur in Orissa, we produced 104 million te of coal in 2010-11, becoming the 2nd largest producer of coal in the country. We are a Miniratna company operating 24 mines and employing approximately 20,800 people. I would like to share with you one of the major ICT-based projects we have successfully completed in our company.

e-Procurement of Goods, Works & Services

MCL has successfully implemented an e-Procurement system for all its goods, works and services. The system has been implemented by NIC following a process study by Ernst & Young. It has been put online on the website https://mcl.ori.nic.in/nicgep/app and all tenders, announcements etc., from the company are posted on the site.

All types of tenders such as those pertaining to procurement of different types of works, coal extraction, loading and transportation, hiring of vehicle and procurement of materials (including Multi Currency bids) are now done exclusively through this dedicated portal.

Innovative features

The procurement system has a number of innovative features, which are briefly discussed here.

The process of evaluation of technical and price bids has been automated, thus expediting the of finalization of tenders. Bidders are not required to upload and send any document for the evaluation of their Bids. The evaluation of the Bids is done based on the information or data submitted by Bidders on-line. The portal software is so designed that Bidder is forced to submit the data required for the evaluation of the Bids in a structured and objective format only, in order to facilitate automatic evaluation of Bids. Each input screen is designed in such a manner that whenever the user enters invalid data he gets appropriate error/alert message. In case of successful completion of the process the user/bidders get an appropriate feedback . The supporting documents of bidders are verified before deciding the award of work. There is a punitive action for defaulting bidders including debarring them to participate in future tenders for one year in case they fail to furnish the required supporting document in support of their online declaration of information.

Major Benefits to MCL

MCL has reaped a number of benefits from implementation of the e-Procurement System. Elimination of subjective judgments in evaluation of bid; elimination of human error in the evaluation process; a consistent tender evaluation process; increase in bidder base leading to better competition and lower prices for the company; quick evaluation of bids leads to drastic reduction in cycle time of procurement; reduction in downtime cost and project overrun cost; decline in unethical business practices by the bidders and minimisation of unnecessary litigation and investigations due to a transparent process and a clear audit trail are some of the major benefits of the process that have aided overall business in a very significant manner.

Major benefits for Bidders

The bidders have also been benefitted by adoption of the system. Ease of bidding from anywhere and at  any time; reduction in cost of bidding; ability to track tender status; decline in unethical practices; electronic payment of charges; faster communication through e‐mail & SMS; ability to modify and withdraw bids online; automatic detection of mistakes in bidding by the system, reducing chaces of rejection of bid on technical grounds and instant feedback regarding compliance with regard to eligibility criteria are among the major benefits that our bidding partners have reaped from the system.


The success of the system has also been recognised and appreciated through awards such as the Award for Best project under Citizen’s Choice in Government to Business Category in eIndia 2010 amd the Award for Best Project by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 2011.