Leveraging of Technology for Greater Transparency and Accountability

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Vismita Tej, CVO, Central Coalfields Limited, Ranchi

It has been aptly said by Freeman Dyson that “Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts”. The importance of use of technology to ensure transparency has been summed up by Isaac Asimov thus “Part of the inhumanity of the computer is that, once it is competently programmed and working smoothly, it iscompletely honest.” Keeping this in mind there has been a constant endeavour by the Vigilance department of Central Coal Fields Ltd., Ranchi to augment transparency, efficiency and accountability by leveraging of technology as per the mandate of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Some of the goodpractices adopted or in the process of being adopted in CCL relating to leveraging of technology, are highlighted below:

E-Tendering with reverse bidding: CCL is the first and the only subsidiary of Coal India Limited to have adopted reverse auction (RA) through e-tendering mode in respect of all transportation contracts since 2010. Around 361 nos. of NITs have been floated with total transaction value approximately at Rs.5636 crores, with reverse bidding completed in 257 cases.Some tangible benefits over the conventional system of tendering:

• Increase in number of registered vendors from 50 to 155
• Reduction of cycle time by a month.
• Doubling of no. of tenders published.
• Cumulative savings of around 597 crores as result of RA.
• Discovery of final price even less than the benchmark price (Estimated Price) set by CCL through RA process.
• Introduction of more transparency in the system.
• Reduction in complaints from the vendor side.
• Participation of new prospective bidders.
• Competitive offers in the market.
• Elimination of subjective human perspective in credential evaluation which is done automatically.

There has been a constant endeavor by the Vigilance department of Central Coal Fields Ltd, Ranchi to augment transparency, efficiency and accountability by leveraging of technology as per the mandate of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)

E-Procurement:This was Introduced in the Central Coal Fields Ltd from the year 2010 initially at the Head quarters level and now extended to the Area level purchases also. Approximately around 470 cases of procurement action has been initiated by the CCL through e-procurement mode. This has resulted in making the system more transparent and accountable.
E-Payment: e-payment has been introduced and fully implemented at CCL, HQ & Areas of CCL. Almost all payments are being made through e-payment mode in the CCL HQ as well as Areas.As bill payment status is available in the website, this is being monitored on a real time basis. Besides the bill payment status is being uploaded on the website on monthly basis in a standard format by all areas/HQ for greater transparency and accountability.
Wide Area Network (WAN): A Wide Area Network (WAN) is being set up to strengthen communication infrastructure across the entire CCL command Area. This will be the communication backbone of the Company. The main purpose is to link up all the regional/unit stores, all sale points/ weighbridges for proper and transparent inventory management, online billing, uniformity in maintenance of production, dispatch and stock records which shall be made available on daily basis at various levels.
• Integrated GPS/GPRS based Vehicle Tracking and RFID based Weighing Control System alongwith CCTV for the entire CCL command Area: In order to prevent pilferage/theft of coal in transportation, to monitor all the vehicles related to production, dispatch and sale in different collieries in command area of CCL, to improve driver productivity, to generate various MIS reports related to production, despatch and sale and to improve dispatch activities an integrated GPS/GPRS based Vehicle Tracking System and RFID with CCTV based weighing Control Monitoring System across CCL command Area is proposed to be implemented in CCL.
E-filing of Property Return by Executives of CCL: Till date executives were filing the property returns manually by 31st January of the next calendar year. However now filing of property return online for executives of CCL has been made mandatory. All executives are now filing their Property returns online for greater transparency and monitoring.
• Online recruitment: Presently recruitment of non-executives was being done manually. For the first time online recruitment system has been launched in CCL.
• Status of EMD and SD on the Web site of CCL: Status of pending / refunded EMD alongwith date of issue of purchase, work order and date of refund is being uploaded in the CCL web site. Similarly details / status of refunded security deposit alongwith date of full execution of purchase/ work order and date of refund is being uploaded in the CCL web site.
Online status of pending Bills on CCL Web-site: All the pending bills of parties are being uploaded on CCL website, resulting in reduction in payment time and satisfaction of vendors. Corruption and lack of transparency is a serious challenge and its preventive measures have to be at the core of any strategy to fight corruption. Well designed and implemented ICT-driven systems that underpin processes and systemslike e-procurements, e-auction, wide area coalnet etc. do indeed are force multipliers and jumpstart the journey towards transparency in an often maligned sector like the coal sector.

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