What is the Swiss Challenge Method?

The govt will redevelop 400 railway stations using the Swiss challenge method. Here's what it means

Pretika Khanna
Updated16 Jul 2015
The Swiss challenge method is one that has been used in India by various states. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint<br />
The Swiss challenge method is one that has been used in India by various states. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Thursday gave its approval to redevelop 400 railway stations using the Swiss challenge method.

“Four hundred railway stations will be redeveloped. The process for this will be through the Swiss challenge method,” finance minister Arun Jaitley told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

What is the Swiss Challenge method?

Describing the challenge, Jaitley said, “Swiss challenge method is a new process of giving contracts...Any person with credentials can submit a development proposal to the government. That proposal will be made online and a second person can give suggestions to improve and beat that proposal.”

He added that an expert committee will accept the best proposal and the original proposer will get a chance to accept it if it is an improvement on his proposal.

In case the original proposer is not able to match the more attractive and competing counter proposal, the project will be awarded to the counter-proposal.

Is it new in India?

The Swiss challenge method is one that has been used in India by various states including Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Gujarat for roads and housing projects.

In 2009, the Supreme Court approved the method for award of contracts.

How different is it from the public-private partnership (PPP)?

This method can be applied to projects that are taken up on a PPP basis but can also be used to supplement PPP in sectors that are not covered under the PPP framework.

Responding to the announcement, minister for railways Suresh Prabhu tweeted, “400 stations across country development. Very big step in passenger service, modernization, mega investments, big job creation. Cabinet approve. Budget announcement fulfilled. Stn (Station) dev (development) with complete transparency with PPP. Top class amenities, shopping etc. Cities get icons.”

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