Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Investment Models: Types, Advantages and Challenges | UPSC

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Investment Models: Types, Advantages and Challenges 

  • Public-private partnerships involve collaboration between a government agency and a private-sector company that can be used to finance, build, and operate projects, such as public transportation networks, parks, and convention centers.
  • These partnerships work well when private sector technology and innovation combine with public sector incentives to complete work on time and within budget.

Types of PPP Investment Models

  • Public-private partnerships can be arranged in several ways as follows:

a) Build Operate Transfer (BOT):

  • A government hands over all construction and operations to a private party for a set number of years (often several decades or more). After that period of time, it is transferred to the government.

b) Build Operate Own (BOO):

  • The same as a BOT, but the private entity is not required to ever transfer the project to the government.

c) Design-Build (DB): 

  • A government contracts with a private party to design and construct a project for a fee. The government retains ownership and may either operate it itself or contract out operations.

d) Buy Build Operate (BBO): 

  • A government sells a pre-existing project that has already been completed and may have been operated by the government for some time to a private party, who will take it over fully. The private party may need to invest in rehabilitating or expanding the project.

e) Swiss Challenge Method (SCM):

  • The Swiss Challenge Method (SCM) is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) procurement model where an unsolicited proposal by a private entity is invited, followed by the government opening it up for competitive bidding. The offer made by the highest bidder (also known as anchor bidder) is set at a reserve price.
  • Subsequently, the govt. holds yet another auction, inviting bids at higher than the reserve price, but the anchor bidder gets an opportunity to match the best bid.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed banks to use this technique for the selling of Non-Performing Assets (NPA) accounts.

i) Advantages of SCM

  • Innovation and Efficiency: The SCM allows private entities to propose innovative solutions that might not be considered under traditional bidding processes. This can lead to more efficient and effective project execution.
  • Quick Implementation: Since the proposal is unsolicited, projects can potentially be initiated and executed more quickly compared to traditional procurement methods, which involve lengthy planning and bidding processes.
  • Reduced Government Burden: The private sector often bears the initial cost and risk of project development, reducing the financial and administrative burden on the government.
  • Enhanced Competition: By opening up the initial proposal to challenge by other bidders, SCM can foster competitive pricing and ensure value for money.

ii) Disadvantages of SCM

  • Transparency Issues: The SCM can be criticized for lacking transparency, as the initial proposal may not be subjected to the same level of scrutiny as proposals under traditional procurement methods.
  • Risk of Favoritism: There is a risk of favoritism or corruption, as the initial proposer may have undue advantages in the bidding process.
  • Limited Competition: The process may not always attract multiple challengers, especially if the initial proposal is complex or highly specialized, potentially limiting competition and efficiency.
  • Potential for Suboptimal Outcomes: If the challenging process does not result in competitive bids, the final outcome may not represent the best value for money.

iii) Way Forward on SCM

  • Enhanced Transparency: To address transparency concerns, the SCM process should include clear guidelines and robust disclosure requirements. All proposals and subsequent evaluations should be made publicly available.
  • Fair Evaluation Criteria: Establishing fair and objective evaluation criteria can help ensure that the selection process is impartial and that the best proposal is chosen.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Involving stakeholders, including the public and relevant experts, in the evaluation process can enhance credibility and acceptance of the SCM process.
  • Regulatory Framework: Developing a comprehensive regulatory framework specific to SCM can standardize procedures, mitigate risks of favoritism, and ensure that unsolicited proposals are aligned with public interests and strategic priorities.
  • Capacity Building: Governments should invest in building the capacity of their procurement and project management teams to handle unsolicited proposals effectively and ensure rigorous assessment and implementation.
  • Pilot Projects: Implementing SCM on a pilot basis for certain projects can help identify potential issues and refine the process before broader adoption.


  • The Swiss Challenge Method offers a promising alternative for public procurement, particularly for innovative and urgent projects.
  • However, its success depends on addressing transparency and competition concerns through well-designed regulatory frameworks, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building.
  • By learning from best practices and pilot projects, governments can leverage the advantages of SCM while mitigating its disadvantages.

Practice Question for Mains

Topic: Investment Models

Q. Analyze the potential benefits and challenges of the Swiss Challenge Method in public-private partnerships (PPP) for infrastructure development in India, and suggest measures to enhance its transparency and effectiveness. (Answer in 250 words)


Model Answer:

  • The Model Answers are available to the online/offline students ofTarun IAS free of cost, along with a lot of other content to help them prepare UPSC IAS exam efficiently.



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