Chinese Test Kit Order Revoked, Not A Rupee Lost: Govt

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday said that not a single rupee was lost on rapid antibody test procurement.

“After receipt of some supplies, the ICMR has again conducted quality checks on these kits in field conditions. Based on the scientific assessment of their performance, the order in question (Wondfo) along with the order in respect of another make found under-performing have been cancelled.

It needs to be stressed that ICMR has not made any payment whatsoever in respect of these supplies. Because of the due process followed (not going for procurement with 100 per cent advance amount), the Government of India does not stand to lose a single rupee,” said a press release from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The press release added: “First of all, it is important to understand the background in which the procurement decisions are made by the ICMR. Testing is one of the most crucial weapons to fight COVID-19 and the ICMR is doing everything it can to ramp up testing.

This requires the procurement of kits and supplying them to states. This procurement is being undertaken when globally there is a huge demand for these test kits and various countries are applying their full might, monetary and diplomatic, to acquire them.”

ICMR’S first attempt to procure these kits did not elicit any response from the suppliers. Its second attempt got adequate responses. Of these responses, taking sensitivity and specificity in mind, kits of two companies — Biomedemics and Wondfo — were identified for procurement. Both had the requisite international certifications.

The press release further said: “For Wondfo, the evaluation committee got four bids and the corresponding quotes received were Rs 1,204, Rs 1,200, Rs 844 and Rs 600. Accordingly, the bid offer of Rs 600 was considered as L-1.”

“In the meanwhile, the ICMR also tried to procure the kits directly from Wondfo company in China through CGI. However, the quotation received from direct procurement had the following issues: Quotation was FOB (Free on Board) without any commitment to logistics issues. The quotation was on the basis of 100 per cent direct advance without any guarantees. There was no commitment to timelines. Rates were communicated in the US dollars without any clause for accounting for fluctuations in prices.

Hence, it was decided to go for Wondfo’s exclusive distributor for India for the kit, who quoted an all-inclusive price for FOB (logistics) without any clause for advance. It needs to be also remembered that this was the first-ever effort by any Indian agency to procure such kits and the rate quoted by the bidders was the only reference point,” the release adds.


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