Govt agencies asked to procure goods, services from GeM without exception
Earlier, some government agencies bypassed the GeM trading platform in favour of conventional tenders, citing technical exemptions
Encouraged by over ₹1.11 lakh crore worth of business deals conducted through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, the Centre has prohibited all its arms from making excuses such as urgency, non-availability of internet connection or non-functioning of GeM portal to procure goods and services of common use outside its e-commerce portal.
“On the request of GeM, it has now been decided that buyers will be required to generate GeMAR&PTS ID in all cases of procurement outside GeM,” a finance ministry circular issued to all central ministries, departments and public sector enterprises said. The GeM Availability Report and Past Transaction Summary (GeMARPTS) ID is now mandatory for all government procurements outside the GeM portal.
A GeMARPTS ID ensures that genuine efforts are made by a government department in procuring goods and services from the GeM portal. Earlier, some government agencies bypassed the GeM trading platform in favour of conventional tenders, citing the three technical exemptions mentioned above, two officials working in economic ministries said requesting anonymity.
Also Read | Debt at 58.8% of GDP as economy contracts
The government’s e-commerce portal GeM has supported thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is one of the government’s core policy initiatives to promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), one official, working for the commerce ministry said.
“Transactions though GeM portal is also crucial to provide business opportunities to small companies registered with the portal,” a second official said.
So far the GeM portal has served 6.73 million orders worth ₹1,11,113 crore from 1.9 million registered sellers and service providers for 52,275 government buyers since its inception in August 2017, he said. Over 56% of the total order value catered to over 695,000 small enterprises, he added.
“The number of medium and small companies registered on the GeM platform has increased by over 62% since 2019-20, a significant jump from around 3,000 MSMEs in 2016-17,” he said.
GeM took a number of initiatives since March last year to facilitate the trade of Covid essentials through the online portal, the second official said. “Several Covid-19 specific categories were created for government organisations fighting this pandemic. A new webpage was created for tracking Covid-19 categories such as sample collection kits, ventilators, masks, diagnostic kits, PPEs, gloves and cardiac monitors,” he said. The person was directly involved in the process.
“We implemented new processes to enable a speedy response to the pandemic such as stocking out sellers who do not update stock within 48 hours, local filters to tide over the logistic bottlenecks, shorter duration bids with shorter delivery periods and prioritisation of product and brand approvals for Covid-19 categories,” he said.
By February this year there were 183,148 products and 36,650 sellers in the Covid-19 categories, he said. “Since March 23, 2020 to January 31, 2020, the order value of procurement of goods from these Covid-19 categories was ₹5,061.56 crore,” he added.