Under the scanner over delay in procurement of testing kits for COVID-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in a major shift in policy, Monday issued a tender asking Central PSUs to engage as procurement agency for essential supplies related to coronavirus testing.
The crucial decision comes in the backdrop of the delay in implementing the rapid antibody tests in high-density clusters (containment zones). The ICMR had ordered 5 lakh kits, of which 2.5 lakh were to be delivered this past week — however, the testing kits are yet to arrive.
Following the successful South Korea model, serological tests were to be used to speed up the rate of detection of cases and isolation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The delay is likely to affect the government’s plan of incremental testing to get a more accurate assessment of the status of transmission.
The ICMR has asked the interested PSUs to act as a procurement agency for essential supplies, which include: Viral RNA Extraction, RT-PCR Kits for COVID-19, Antibody IgM and IgG Rapid Test Kit for COVID-19 and the Viral Transport Medium. The research body has asked the interested central PSUs to submit their techno-commercial offers by April 16.
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“Based on the technical specifications of different items…the bidder has to procure materials following the procurement procedure of its own organisation keeping in view the instructions of Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance and other such Government of India rules / guidelines on the subject from time-to-time,” the notice said.
The ICMR said that the procurement agency shall also make arrangements for redistribution of the testing materials and equipment stored at NIMR, Dwarka, New Delhi, and NIOP, New Delhi, to the Regional COVID-19 inventory depots of ICMR. “The bidder has to deploy about 5-6 officials at ICMR Headquarters for proper coordination while remaining staff can work from concerned PSU Headquarters,” the notice said.
“The agency shall make arrangements for receipt of supplied goods / equipments at FOB, New Delhi and storage at the COVID-19 inventory depots at NIMR, Dwarka, New Delhi and NIOP, Safdarjang, New Delhi,” the ICMR said.
The council has asked the PSUs to submit four details before the bidding: Turnover of last 3 financial years, net Profit for last 3 financial years, regional spread of the organisation in different states / Union Territories of India and experience of handling similar work in the past.
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