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IT Minister Asks Central Govt Departments To Focus On Local Cybersecurity Products

Wednesday, 17 March 2021, 03:40 Hrs

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has once again asked central government departments, public sector units (PSUs) and other government organizations to give preference to Made in India cybersecurity products, while procuring such products for official uses.

In an office memorandum sent earlier this month, the IT Ministry said that despite clear guidelines on public procurement policy for cybersecurity products, central ministries, PSUs and government agencies had been mentioning ‘restrictive and discriminatory’ conditions like minimum turnover, need of certain global certifications, and Gartner quadrant as necessary conditions.

These conditions in government tenders, senior officials said, are considered restrictive and discriminatory as they discouraged small startups as well as local micro, small and medium enterprises from bidding. “Consider the condition of Gartner quadrant. It is useful only for companies which have a significant turnover and size to predict the market trend, the new products in market and the challenges these large companies could face. It has little use for startups and small companies,” an IT Ministry official said.

In 2019, the Ministry had, for the first time, circulated a Make in India procurement order for all central government ministries, PSUs and other government agencies in which it had said that preference should be given to locally made cybersecurity products.

As per the 2019 notification, anti-virus, end-point, cloud and mobile security products, system information and event, identity and access, and incident response management products and others such as data classification and forensic tools were included in the list of cybersecurity products for which preference was to be given to domestic companies.

Under the rules, a cybersecurity product supplier was defined as local only if the company was either incorporated or registered in India and if the revenue from product and intellectual property accrued to such Indian company. The Ministry had then also said the total royalty fee paid by the manufacturer to the third party should not exceed 20 per cent of total cost of the product.

The Ministry had then also given a redressal mechanism of complaint for both suppliers and buyers. It had then said a complaint fee of Rs 2 lakh or 1 percent of the value of domestically manufactured would be deposited with Standardization Testing and Quality Certification (STQC), an attached office of the IT Ministry.

If the complaint was found to be false or frivolous by either the supplier or the buyer, the entire fee would be confiscated, and would be returned without interest if the same was found to be substantial and true.