The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to put on hold the tender for setting up 4G network valued at Rs 90 billion.

The move follows a complaint filed by Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) against BSNL to the DoT and DPIIT alleging that the tender violates norms for procurement and favours foreign companies.

As per the TEPC, BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) are ignoring the Public Procurement Order (Make in India) of the government and the tender floated has no provision for compliance of the government order. Further, the TEPC alleged that BSNL bypassed discussion with domestic companies and framed tender norms in collaboration with multinational companies (MNCs) to keep Indian companies out of the bid. None of the homegrown companies are aware of any consultation by BSNL on technical requirements, without which, the current tender is being construed as having technical specifications prepared in close coordination with MNCs to keep out the Indian companies and get rid of the Preference to Make in India (PMI) norms.

Taking note of the TEPC allegations, DPIIT has asked the DoT to examine the complaint and take corrective and disciplinary actions against erring officers for putting restrictive conditions against domestic manufacturers in malafide fashion. In its letter to DoT, BSNL and TEPC, DPIIT said that the subject procurement will not be finalised till the aforesaid grievance is disposed of by the competent authority.

The tender was floated by BSNL in March 2020 for setting up 4G network.