Combating Corruption in Public Procurement - A Case Study of the Indian Railways

22 Pages Posted: 27 May 2013 Last revised: 18 Jun 2013

See all articles by Bodhibrata Nag

Bodhibrata Nag

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

Date Written: May 22, 2013


The risks of corruption in public sector procurements are higher due to larger sizes of contracts involved. Procurement processes of Indian public organizations have gradually been strengthened over the years, under prodding of oversight bodies, to incorporate most of the methods for preventing corruption. However public perception of public procurement is that corruption is quite high. Therefore this paper has tried to inquire into the following issues: (a) correctness of perceptions of corruption, (b) the deficiencies of the current procurement processes and control mechanisms, (c) recommending appropriate corruption prevention methods for arresting the deficiencies in the Indian context. This research has adopted the method of analyzing a few recent cases of public procurement irregularities on Indian Railways documented by the vigilance departments and the CAG. The common refrain in all the case analyses is the need for strengthening the monitoring mechanisms and building a strong knowledge management system. It is also found that not all cases cited as irregularities by oversight bodies necessarily imply corruption. It is further argued that a e-procurement system combined with inbuilt monitoring and knowledge management system could be useful in combating corruption.

Keywords: public procurement, corruption, India, Indian Railways

JEL Classification: H57, L92, K42, H54

Suggested Citation

Nag, Bodhibrata, Combating Corruption in Public Procurement - A Case Study of the Indian Railways (May 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Bodhibrata Nag (Contact Author)

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta ( email )

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Kolkata, West Bengal 700104
24678300 (Phone)
24678307 (Fax)

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