No exception from Government e-Marketplace portal for public procurements

Updated on Jun 22, 2021 06:42 PM IST

The government’s e-commerce portal GeM has supported thousands of small and medium enterprises during the Covid-19 pandemic, an official said

Representational image.
Representational image.
ByRajeev Jayaswal

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” or “non-functioning of GeM” to procure goods and services of common use from 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 or 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 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 | How India’s new e-commerce rules could jolt foreign, local players

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 6.95 lakh small enterprises, he added.

“The number of MSEs registered on the GeM platform has increased by over 62% since the last financial year (2019-20). And this is a tremendous achievement considering that there were only around 3,000 MSMEs in 2016-17,” commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan said last week.

GeM took a number of initiatives since March last year to facilitate 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 1,83,148 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.

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