PM Modi's Smart City Project Runs Into a Hitch

BENGALURU: The NDA government’s plan for 100 smart cities project is experiencing a hurdle after the last minute cancellation of one of its major tender to hire a consultant. It is rumored that the tender was cancelled after the ministry and National Institute of Urban Affairs received complaints regarding the ‘conflict of Interest,’ reports The ETI.

McKinsey, the international consultancy firm is reported to help the urban development ministry unofficially for the 7,000 crore ambitious project. This firm not only wasn’t barred from bidding for the tender, it was also working on a bid before the tender got scrapped on March 9th. The involvement of McKinsey in the project was not at all known and was revealed after NIUA released the tender seeking request for qualification cum proposal for the implementation of the project. After the document was uploaded on NIUA website, word file properties showed the name of McKinsey consultant, Amit Gupta’s name. The document was also uploaded on Government’s Central Public Procurement portal.

Jagan Shah, NIUA Director told, “Requirements for the project changed radically and the goalpost got shifted.” Shah said that he got calls and messages pointing out the possible conflict of interest, but there was nothing in written.

The government will release a new document along with new specifications but it is unclear if McKinsey will apply or not.

OP Agarwal, formerly the bureaucrat at the Urban Development Ministry and currently Director General Of The Institute of Urban Transport said, “Sometimes, the ministries do take the help of private consultants to write project reports or draft RFPs, but then it is explicit that they cannot bid for the same.” He also added that, “It is extremely important to maintain transparency in the entire process. It is such a big and prestigious project for the government. Everything should be done more carefully and cleanly.”

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