Union Government's 16 ministries and departments outsourced multiple crucial assignments covering a variety of governance to top multinational consultancy firms, primarily the 'Big Four' plus McKinsey & Co.
These assignments ranged from petroleum to power and from NITI Aayog to India's own Aadhaar project. An investigation by The Indian Express into documents made available under the Right To Information (RTI) Act revealed the details.
According to the records, the US-based McKinsey & Company and the Big Four accounting firms PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, Ernst & Young Global Limited, and KPMG International Limited won at least 308 consulting assignments valued at close to Rs 500 crore from different government ministries, departments, and organisations between April 2017 and June 2022.
According to the records, these projects encompassed a broad array of tasks for the government. These tasks included conducting thorough financial assessments, providing ongoing advisory services, recruiting technical consultants, and even evaluating nominations for e-governance awards.
The 16 departments/ ministries and about 50 organisations under their administration that consulted any of the five global consultants are: Petroleum and Natural Gas; Rural Development; Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances; Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade; Coal; Electronics and Information Technology; Health and Family Welfare; Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Defence; Civil Aviation; Public Enterprises; Non-conventional Energy Resources; Power; Road Transport and Highways; Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Tourism. There are 59 ministries in the Central government.
The data indicates that PwC received the most benefits, securing a minimum of 92 contracts amounting to more than Rs 156 crore from 2017 to 2022. Deloitte followed closely with 59 assignments worth over Rs 130.13 crore, although the specific amounts for four of those contracts were not disclosed.