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Public procurement policy for small and medium enterprises in developing countries: Evidence from India

Kapil Patil (Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




Increasing the share of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in public procurement through targeted support policies is often fraught with organisational and institutional challenges as can be seen from the experiences of many developed countries. This has profound implications for emulating such policies in developing countries where administrative capacities may be low for efficient policy management. The purpose of this paper is to widen the canvass of SME procurement policy discourse by exploring a developing country context.


The study provides qualitative assessment using insights from policy implementation-related theories. Due to limited reporting of target data on SME participation in India, the study conducts analysis based on key informant interviews with 20 public sector enterprises.


The evidence drawn from India mainly shows uneven performance among the procurers in achieving the SME procurement targets, and reveals serious policy implementation shortcomings. These findings correspond and complement the earlier studies on SME procurement in the developed world. The Indian case additionally reveals barriers which may be common to other developing countries such as the lack of policy-administrative capacity compounded by the prevalence of “efficiency syndrome” on the part of procurers.


By providing an in-depth developing country-specific assessment, the study helps informing assumptions underpinning SME-oriented procurement policies. The study, therefore, fills a gap in the literature on SME-oriented public procurement policy-making and its execution.



Patil, K. (2017), "Public procurement policy for small and medium enterprises in developing countries: Evidence from India", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 391-410.



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