Indian Railways, the largest civil establishment of the Government is providing due opportunities to MSME suppliers, today it procure 25% of its total purchases from micro and small enterprises.
However, down below, some of its offices are still scary of allowing supplies by MSMEs and putting hindrances in upscaling status of the MSME suppliers.
One glaring example is reintroduction of category gates for suppliers by the RDSO, which put additional procedural burden on MSMEs, even after categorisation of vendors were annulled by the Railway Board.
Railways register new suppliers after detail inspection of manufacturing and testing facilities and all other documents.
Even after that MSMEs are registered as ‘Developmental Vendors’ with limitation on the extent of supplies they can make and other additional checks and balances.
After repeated successful supplies, these contractors have to apply again for upgradation to regular vendors and repeat the entire registration process.
With the focus of the present Government on ease of doing business, the Railway Board, the apex body of the Railways, done away with the two track registration system by an order dated 18th November, 2016.
But the bureaucracy below thought otherwise.
By an order hardly a month after, RDSO Lucknow, the authority to approve the vendors, negates the Railway Board order and reintroduced categorisation of vendors.
The MSMEs are really upset.
Commenting on the situation, Mr. Naveen Jain of Muzaffarnagar and regular supplier to Railways mentioned that this a big harassment to MSME suppliers.
He also mentioned that for new products / items Railways can term contracts as developmental but for routine items what purpose the categorisation serve, besides creating additional hurdles for MSMEs to register as regular vendors.
The moot question here is who rules the Railways, the Board or the subordinate RDSO.
Otherwise, how an order of the board, abolishing ‘developmental’ and ‘normal’ categorisation of the vendors, were overruled by RDSO.
According to some of the observers, this is the real challenge for ‘Make in India’ today, where the decisions of the Government to promote manufacturing are reversed by the bureaucracy.