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High ComMission of India
Answers to questions asked by the bidding companies before pre-bid conference in respect of Outsourcing of Visa Service for the period 1.7.2016 – 30.6.2020 and Passports and other Consular Services for the period 6.8.2017–30.6.2020.
Reference: Amendment No. 1 dated 25.1.2016 to RFP and Mission’s Request For Proposal (RFP) dated 20.1.2016
1. Please provide month-wise application count Visa and OCI services for the last 3 years?
Answer: Please see Annexure-1 enclosed. The figures are indicative only and the Mission does not guarantee receipt of same number of Visa/OCI cards/Passports/Other Consular Services applications in future also.
2. How many telephone calls and e mails are received on a daily basis?
Answer: In Kuala Lumpur, approximately 25 emails and 125 telephone calls are received for Passports/Other Consular Services and approximately 30 emails and 80 telephone calls are received for Visa/OCI cards services.
3. What % of visa and OCI applications are received by third party agencies/ travel agents and in person respectively?
Answer: All applications are received in persons only.
4. The RFP mentions that the service provider is required to capture biometrics from applicants. What is the expected timeline for the introduction of biometrics?
Answer: The finger print biometrics is already in force and being collected currently. Date of introduction of facial biometrics will be intimated when intimated by Govt of India to the Mission. For more details please see Annexure-B of RFP.
5. As the Mission has set the VAS price ceiling (Clause X1 14 a), can these be changed in case there is a change in market prices, tax and other such parameters which are not driven by the Service Provider?
6. The Insurance is required to survive the validity of contract (Clause X. 13.d); Please provide clarity regarding the types of insurance policies that need to survive the validity of the contract.
Answer: Please see para X.13(d) of RFP. The Service Provider will effect and maintain insurance sufficient to cover its obligations under the Agreement, properties of the IVAC, staff obligations etc., including those obligations which survive the expiration or termination of the Agreement/Contract. It is well know that vendor’s obligations (legal/otherwise) will survive cancellation/expiry of the contract.
7. Kindly confirm if the actual bank agency charges levied on the financial transaction for the collection of fees and service charges can be collected from the applicants on actual basis in addition to the service charge at all VAC locations.
Answer: Yes. Service provider must display prominently the bank/agency charges applicable, both at the IVACs and on website (on actual basis) and it shall not become a source of income for the service provider. Such charges will not be borne by the Mission.
8. Please define which applications will need to be digitized?
Answer: Visa, OCI cards and Passports (Indian Passports) services applications forms will be digitized as per details given in Annexure-A of the RFP. Mission reserves the right to include, in future, any other categories of application(s) (collected by the service provider) in the list of documents to be digitized by the vendor.
9. The RFP mentions that the Service Provider is required to provide an interactive blog. What is scope of this interactive blog?
Answer: The service provider shall provide a customer feedback system, and an interactive blog as part of service provider’s website. It is for the vendor to explain details/functions of their system in their technical bid document.
10. In Annexure B- Provisioning Implementation of Biometric Enrollment at Indian Missions, the RFP mentions that the Government of India may provide the facial capturing software for the purpose. We request the High comMission to provide clarity on this aspect as this will impact pricing.
Answer: Vendors will be intimated date of introduction for facial capturing software, when the same is received from Govt of India in future and necessary notice period will be available to vendors to make arrangements for the same. Fee, if any, quoted by vendors for capture of facial biometrics will be applicable with effect from the date of introduction of facial biometrics.
11. Can the Mission clarify the estimated time lines for implementation of 'Consprom' system in Malaysia? Please provide details on this system?
Answer: Estimated time lines for implementation of “CONSPROM” system in Malaysia and its details will be intimated when the same will be received from NIC/MEA, as the same, at present, are not known to the Mission.
12. What will be the approximate number of pages to be digitized per application?
Answer: It may vary from application to application. For further information, please see Annexure A of the RFP.
13. The RFP under scope of work and deliverables (Clause IX. D- iv) mentions that the documents
should be transported by a dedicated van of the Service Provider in locked containers along with the staff of the Service Provider and security personnel as required. – Kindly clarify whether these are mandatory requirements or a deviation can be taken based on the risk levels, i.e. use of contracted car or courier service or tracking of shipment through a third party, no security personnel in the van.
Answer: These are mandatory requirements.
14. Once biometrics is introduced for passport applications, all applicants will be required to visit the center in person and no applications will be acceptable via third parties or agents. Please confirm.
Answer: IVACs will receive all applications from applicants only; even if biometrics is not introduced. In deserving cases, the Mission reserves the right to receive applications by post/through third party.
15. In Section IX. Scope of work and deliverables required, the RFP states that the Service Provider should provide an efficient and courteous telephonic enquiry system through Toll free numbers/ Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). – We believe providing local number will have better accessibility over toll free numbers for callers in Malaysia, please confirm if a local number can be provided.
Answer: In addition to providing call centre/VoIP services as indicated in the RFP, the vendor may also provide local number(s).
16. If a local number can be provided, the standard call charges will be applicable
Answer: Please see answer to query No.15 above.
17. Kindly clarify on the scope of the emergency number
Answer: The telephonic enquiries should be attended from 9AM to 7PM on all working days and an automatic answering system should be functional outside the above period including holidays. Vendor’s automatic answering system should inform the applicants to contact Mission’s emergency mobile telephone number outside the office hours and on holidays/weekends.
18. Is the pre-verification by Missions also applicable to enabling unit staff/ external auditors/ internal auditors visiting the VAC for support services/ audits/ consulting work?
Answer: No; provided the staff is qualified and is without criminal/adverse record as indicated in RFP.
19. Website Quality certification (ISO 23026-2015) can be obtained only after the website is live. We kindly request the Embassy to modify this clause so that compliance to this standard be undertaken by service provider after the award of contract or at least within 6 months of go live of operations.
Answer: For website to be constructed in future in Malaysia, certificate may be submitted later.
20. RFP mentions (Clause VII. 10.a) Service provider must certify and provide documentation from concerned authorities that all local regulations are being complied with – please specify the type of certification required?
Answer: Vendor’s activities/equipment/hiring of premises/staff wages etc. as mentioned in the RFP should comply to local laws.
21. Please clarify the response time for email as 24 hrs and 48 hours (in case of Mission advice if required) will be working week hours not including weekends and holidays as this would impact pricing.
Answer: Holidays and weekends are not included.
22. Please provide us with the RFP Form
Answer: The same may please be downloaded from the Mission’s website: www.indianhighcomMission.com.my
23. Annexure H mentions that bank guarantees need to be submitted along with subMission of proposal, please clarify this needs to be provided only after contract is awarded.
Answer: Yes, to be provided after award of contract only.
24. Is it mandatory to sign the bid document by the CEO or whether this document can also be signed by a person nominated through a Board resolution?
Answer: It will be signed as indicated in the RFP and no relaxation is allowed.
25. In the RFP (Clause XVII, 22.e) mentions the minimum area, staff and counters for each location, will a non – adherence to these parameters disqualify the bidder?
26. Please clarify the bid security amount? RFP mentions RM 2,15,00 or US 50, 000- the amount seems to be incorrect.
Answer: The amount is correct both in RM and in US $.
27. In the amendment no.1 to the RFP, Mission intends to select two service providers; this makes it apparent that one service provider will not receive the full volume as given in the RFP. May we request the Mission to specify the volumes for which each service provider has to provide the pricing? Also can you please provide the updated requirements of space and staff required by an individual service provider in each location, considering there will be two service providers.
Answer: The volume of work for each vendor will depend on the quality of service/facilities to be provided by each of the 2 vendors. The updated requirement of area/staff/counters is given in para 4 of Amendment No.1 dated 25.1.2016.
28. As per Annex C, the bidders are supposed to provide office space, associated costs, manpower and its cost and other details. We request the Mission to kindly confirm the minimum criteria and standard as per the best market practice and local labor laws and tax regime applicable in Malaysia to evaluate the costs provided by the bidders. Will the Mission disqualify such bidders whose cost are not in confirmation to such standards such as standard wages, number of hours, etc
Answer: Bidders not offering minimum area/staff/counters etc. as indicated in the RFP will stand disqualified.
29. In continuation to point 27 where two Service Providers are selected , both L1 and L2 will be asked to operate at the L1 price: As the prices submitted by each company will be on its own individual capacity, it could be possible that L2 may not be able to afford to match the L1 price offer, In such a case we assume that L2 will have the right to decline and opt out at the stage when the decision is being made without having any adverse effect on the future tenders with the government of India or the bid security. Kindly confirm our understanding.
Answer: As per para 2 of Amendment No. 1 “If a company which takes part in the tender process on the basis of a two Service Provider model, refuses to honour the selection and award of Contract, the Mission reserves the right to debar such a Company from future tenders. The Bid Security Deposit by the said Company will also be forfeited.”
30. Please provide month-wise application count for passport and consular services for the last 3 years based on the amendment No. 1 dated 25th Jan’16
Answer: Please see Annexure-1 enclosed.
31. Para VIII 11 j (iii), Kindly elaborate procedure for turn around time of 60 minutes.
Answer: It will be from the time a Q token is taken till the time when biometrics/service is provided at the counter(s).
32. Para XI 12 a (10), kindly clarify about the special arrangement to deal with emergency calls outside office hours and on holidays.
Answer: Please see answer to Q.NO. 17 above.
33. As regards clause XIV -penalties, there are certain superfluous clauses which need to be rationalized as the same are difficult to be strictly implemented and monitored.
Answer: Penalty regime has been decided after past experiences and due consideration of all aspects in order to streamline Mission’s outsourcing services and the same will be diligently applied as per the RFP.
34. Para XVII 22 (i) d When will the details of evaluation of technical bid be intimated to participant companies? Will it be at the time of opening of financial bid or prior to opening of financial bid?
Answer: Prior to opening of financial bids.
35. (II). whether viability of services fee will be examined prior to opening of financial bid. If so will it not compromise the confidentiality of service fee quoted in the financial bid?
Answer: It will be examined after opening of financial bids. Financial bids will be opened in the presence of vendors’ representatives.
36. Annexure-‘C’ at page 55 of the RFP stipulates “Mission has the right to disqualify the bidders in the financial bid stage if the costing details are not commercially viable and found to be unsustainable, treating the bid as unresponsive.”
I. There is no definition provided in the RFP of words “commercially viable”. Besides there is no parameter or criteria w.r.t. the same. While for the bidder, a financial bid can be commercially viable, it may not be so for the Mission. Thus the said decision is highly subjective and needs clarification and necessary amendment providing the complete parameters and criteria as to when a particular financial bid can be termed as commercially viable and commercially not viable.
Answer: In case a bid is rejected (as unresponsive) the concerned bidding company will be informed about the reasons in writing. Bids are being invited strictly as per provisions detailed in the RFP dated 20.1.2016 and Amendment No.1 dated 25.1.16.
II. Besides there is no definition of the word unsustainable i.e. it needs to be clarified as to when the costing details can be termed as unsustainable. The said parameters must be provided in the RFP so as to enable the bidders to be vigilant in providing their costing details so that the same can be termed as commercially viable and sustainable.
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No.36.I above. The bidders are advised to read the RFP and Amendment No. 1 and Annexures C, E and F carefully before preparing their bids.
37. Annexure D Serial No. II (4) whether company is required to submit insurance cover in the form of certificate from the insurance company or copy of Insurance policy.
Answer: Just to show the original policy for verification and only its photocopy is to be provided to the Mission.
38. Annexure ‘E’ of the RFP provides criteria for evaluation of technical bids. The remarks column in all the criteria from 1 to 9 provides that “Marks to be awarded as per Mission’s Judgment.” It is nowhere either explained or clarified as to what would be the basis and /or parameter for the Mission to pass a judgment on the criteria concerned. Besides, the said judgment by the Mission will be highly subjective. These criteria of evaluation are not transparent evaluation criteria. As per normal guidlines of Government of India, should be transparent and predefined and not be arbitrary.
Answer: Bids are being invited strictly as per the RFP and the Amendment No.1. and evaluation of the bids will be done with due diligence as per the criteria mentioned therein.
39. Criteria No. 9 provides that marks will be awarded as per Mission’s judgment on the basis of number of memorandums /show cause notices etc. It further provides that the first time bidder is to be given a neutral evaluation for purpose of ranking i.e. 5 marks, the said criteria favor inexperience bidder while the service providers who has experience and who have already provided services and successfully completed the contract will be given a symbolic mark more than zero. These criteria appear to be discriminatory. While the first timers may be given exemplary good mark i.e. 5 marks, the experienced ones are given less marks then the first timers.
Answer: For the said purpose, the ranking of 5 marks is a neutral ranking and will be awarded to all bidders. Bidders with relevant experience will be given marks between 5 and 10.
40. Besides, it is stated in the said remark that the marks will be reduced depending upon the number of show cause notices etc. It is requested to appreciate that the issuance of show cause notice to any service provider in no way can be termed as cognizable or any stigma attached to the said service provider. Mere issuing show cause notice cannot be taken as negative point as it is unfair and discriminatory. Thus the said method of marking in criteria 9 needs to be rectified and explained as the same is highly discriminatory. Criteria No. 10 As verdict is vague and unclear it doesn’t specify who is not Government of India client and how would quality be ascertained has not been mentioned. Further these criteria also favour non-Indian Companies that may have more experience with non-Government of India clients.
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No.38. Eligibility criteria mentioned in the RFP are final. Individual cases will be considered in totality i.e. in conjunction with show cause notice, its response from vendor and improvements made in rendering of services concerned etc.
41. Will there be total of 20 centers in Malaysia?
Answer: Each vendor will operate his own, separate, IVAC in each of the 10 listed cities of Malaysia. Names of the cities are as follows: Kuala Lumpur, Klang, Johor Bahru, Penang, Ipoh, Melaka, Seremban, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
42. Increase of 35% before commencement of Passport and consular services. Which means Kuala Lumpur itself would have a space of 10,800 Sq ft (5,400 Sqft each VAC)?
Does the count justify the space required?
43. What is the basis of calculation of space and staff requirement?
Answer: This has been decided after due consideration of all aspects in order to streamline Mission’s outsourcing services and for providing due facilities to public.
44. Does the Mission expect the provider to move to new location before commencement of
Passport and consular services? Or expects the providers to have additional space in each location for one year and three months?
Answer: This has to be decided by the vendor himself.
45. What will be count distribution of overall applications?
Answer: Please see Annexure-1 enclosed.
46. How does the Mission justify the commercial viability of the requirements for
space and staff?
Answer: Minimum requirements for space and staff have been mentioned in para 4 of Amendment No.1 dated 25.1.2016.
47. Why is the passport and consular outsourcing for less than 3 years? How does the Mission expect the service provider to achieve ROI in less than 3 years?
Answer: Bids are being invited strictly as per provisions detailed in the RFP dated 20.1.2016 and Amendment No.1 dated 25.1.16. In view of streamlining the outsourcing of Visa/OCI cards and Passports/Other Consular Services, the Mission reserves the right to decide the length of contract(s).
48. How does the Mission justify similar service fee for Visa/OCI and
Passport/Consular when the period of the contract and the number of transactions are different?
Answer: Vendors have to factor in all the said aspects while deciding their service fee in consonance with the details given in RFP and Amendment No. 1.
49. What is the impact of ETA on the overall visa count? What is the count post
deducting the ETA nos?
Answer: Mission is not aware of impact of ETA on the overall visa count as figures for ETA visa are not available. Vendors are advised to study closely the figures given in enclosed Annexure-1 (which are indicative only and the Mission does not guarantee receipt of same number of applications in future also).
50. The size of the IVACs mentioned is as per the current scenario. How does the
Mission justify the requirement with two service providers?
Answer: This has been decided after due consideration of all aspects in order to streamline Mission’s outsourcing services and for providing due facilities to public.
51. Clause 17 : In case of no bidder matching L1 price the Mission reserves the right
to, inter alia, award the entire contract to L1 bidder as the sole service provider in all the cities/centres in the country.
In this case, does the sole service provider need to double the size of the space and staffs or maintain as proposed.
Answer: Does not need to double the size of IVACs or staff. It should be as given in Para 4 of Amendment No.1.
52. What is the basis of calculation for the penalties mentioned? Please provide itemized definitions and measurement criteria?
Answer: Penalty regime has been decided after past experiences and due consideration of all aspects in order to streamline Mission’s outsourcing services and the same will be diligently applied as per the provisions detailed in the RFP.
53. The RFP does not provide the volume which is minus the ETA count. Please provide the count minus ETA.
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No. 49.
54. Across all countries there is a huge requirement for express visas. This is communicated by the customers itself. Such services need to be approved at the time of the tendering process. Will Express visas be serviced by the partner.
Answer: Vendors will advise applicants to fill up online visa forms and thereafter approach the Mission as Emergency/Express visas will be issued at Mission’s premises (at Consular Section) only. Vendors are not authorized to make additional charge on account of Emergency visa.
55. Quite a few high profile customers walk in at the IVAC for biometric enrolment. Such applicants need special treatment and services. Which has a cost involved. Will the lounge services be allowed.
Answer: Lounge services/premium lounge are not allowed.
56. ISO 23026-2015 (website quality certification) is required for the local website or
For the company as a whole.
Answer: For local website only.
57. SubMission of Proposal 1600 hrs. on 22.2.2016 (Monday) Operations start date:
2.5.2016. Is the date given for Commencement of operations in the RFP final?
What would be the contract signing date?
Answer: Commencement of operations will be w.e.f. 1.7.2016 instead of 2.5.2016. Agreement should be signed within 2 weeks of award of contract.
Visa/OCI cards Contract will be from 1.7.16 to 30.6.2020 and Passports/Other Consular Services for the period 6.8.2017 to 30.6.2020.
58. There is no mention of the word transition in the entire document. Failure on the part of the current service provider during operation transition phase has not been addressed at all in the RFP. Detailed information is solicited as far as transition is concerned to ensure that a process is defined to ensure accountability. Below is a sample of questions that need clarification:
i) When will the incumbent service provider end accepting applications?
Answer: M/s IVS will accept visa application till 30.6.2016.
ii) When will the contact centre of the incumbent service provider discontinue its
Answer: On 30.6.2016.
iii) Will the applications that were processed by incumbent be handled?
Answer: Yes, they will be handled by M/s IVS.
iv) How will the handover of the unprocessed applications, courier labels, passports, etc. be
Answer: Unprocessed applications/courier labels/pre-paid courier envelopes/uncollected passports will be handed over by M/s IVS to the Mission.
v) Will the new service provider charge their service fee for handling applications handed
over by incumbent service provider?
Answer: No. Please see answer to previous question.
59. Can we have the location wise and month wise break up of visa applications count for each year of the last 3 years?
Answer: Please see Annexure-1.
60. Kindly confirm if all the application types are to be submitted by the applicants themselves IN PERSON only; and NO POST or THIRD PARTY will be allowed to
submit the applications.
Answer: Yes, fingers biometrics being compulsory, all applicants will submit applications in person only.
61. Kindly provide the details on number of calls and emails received from the applicants at the current service centres.
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No.2.
62. RFP states the call centre time to be 9 AM to 7 PM on all working days. We request The Mission to consider a time period of 9 AM to 5 PM to coincide with the IVAC working hours and also taking into account any possible staff security issues arising out the time taken by staff to reach home in the night.
Answer: Number of working hours/timings given in the RFP are final.
63. Could you please let us know if there is any threshold on the number of staff? As this help service provider while working on the budgetary exercise and also the service provider will be in a better position to furnish the information related to staffing under Annexure E.
Answer: Minimum number of staff etc. is prescribed in para 4 of Amendment No.1 dated 25.1.2016 published on our Mission’s website.
64. The VAS section does not cover the rates for the SMS service. All the present RFP’s published by the Indian Missions worldwide have explicitly described SMS rates under VAS section. In addition service provider has to mandatorily provide 3 SMS updates.
Answer: Vendor will not charge for the 3 mandatory sms updates but factor in their cost in their service charge.
65. What would be the likely date of implementation of biometric data capture?
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No. 4.
66. SO 23026 for Website Quality Mgmt defines system engineering and standards to ensure features such as secure information transfer, transactions, payment gateway etc. are functional as per the standard guidelines. If these guidelines are for the new website, service provider will only be able to submit the certificate until the new website is operational i.e. post award of contract. The present corporate website of the bidding companies are only informative and do not have secure information to deal with; hence ISO certificate is not required. Even for our other operational website we do not have this standard mandatory. Hence we request the Mission to allow the service provider to submit this certificate post award of contract. Kindly advise.
Answer: Proposed suggestion is accepted by the Mission.
67. We understand that new service provider will be digitising records from the day it starts is operations and will not be responsible to complete digitisation of past records.
68. Rates offered by Mission are almost half of what is being charged by the current service provider. Please advice the logic behind the same?
Answer: These have been decided after due consideration of all aspects in order to streamline Mission’s outsourcing services and for providing due facilities to public.
69. What is the Mission’s definition of unviable service fee.
Answer: It is understood that total listed income of the vendor indicated in Annexure-C should be more than total expenditure with some margin for profit and we expect vendors to keep this in mind while quoting service fee. However, evaluation will be made diligently taking into account all quantifiable factors.
70. Will the Mission consider the RFP response and relevant Annexure including the Financial Bid to be signed by a senior person authorized by the Board of Directors of the company?
Answer: Please see answer to Q.No.24.
71. We have experienced applicants contacting the new service provider for applications submitted at the previous service provider. In this event, the current service provider should be asked to continue their telephone and email helpdesk for at least two weeks after the last
date of their contract. Kindly advise.
Answer: We expect outgoing and incoming vendors to have spirit of service to public and request M/s IVS to keep their telephone and email services open for a few days after end of the contract.
72. Since there is only one Mission/post in Kuala Lumpur service provider should be allowed to accept postal applications for central processing VAC. This will also save applicant’s time as they will be able to send the application directly to the main processing centre. Also the processed applications will be directly couriered (if opted by the applicant) to their home Address.
Answer: Due to compulsory finger biometrics receipt of applications by post are not allowed.
73. Service provider should be allowed to return the applications that do not have all the mandatory documents in the postal package received after deducting the service provider fee and the return courier charges.
Answer: It is not applicable. Please see answer to previous question.
74. This certification can only be provided after the operations have begun and taxes are filed at the end of the 1st financial year. Please confirm if our understanding is correct?
Answer: An undertaking stating that local laws will be adhered to by the vendor, may be provided.
75. What might be reasonable for one service provider might not be reasonable for another. Please specify a range which the Mission feels is reasonable.
Answer: It is all right for the Mission if there is a little profit indicated in the balance sheet. Exact requisite amount of profit should be factored in by vendors as per their requirements.
76. Appointments should be made mandatory to ensure quality of service to the applicants. At the same time, the capacity for “Walk - in” applicants should be restricted to a mutually agreeable figure with the Mission.
Answer: All the walk in applicants will be served by the vendor and waiting time should not be more than 60 minutes. In addition to walk in applicants, the vendor is encouraged to arrange the system of prior appointments for the applicants who volunteer for the same.
77. Since the courier company will charge a fee for return of incomplete documents, such charges should be deducted from the refund as per the VAS schedule along with the service provider service fee.
Answer: Applicants will come to IVACs personally and vendors will not accept any incomplete application.
78. Please define the “stated” limit for holding personal records.
Answer: It will be four weeks for processed applications (after the service is competed).
79. For penalty of 0.5% per day, per day should be replaced with per business day.
Answer: As per the RFP penalty will be charged for holidays/weekends also.
80. C- Operational Penalties, per day should be replaced with per business day.
Answer: Please see answer to previous question.
81. Mission has mandated a minimum of 44 staff for average number of applications at 650 a day; thats 15 applications per staff a day. This is very low level of productivity. Request the Mission to review the number of staff required?
Answer: The staff is also required to do cash handling/accounting, digitization, reply to emails, postal mails and telephonic/personal enquiries etc. This has been decided after due consideration of all aspects so that applicant does not wait for more than 60 minutes even during peak season.
82. Please specify the equivalent qualification level of Malaysia for Indian Graduate level course?
Answer: This is 3 (or 4) years graduate level course after finishing schooling in Malaysia.
83. Please specify for how long the recordings should be stored.
Answer: For one month.