Home / News / India /  Centre reinforces usage of GeM portal

Encouraged by the more than 1.11 trillion worth of business deals conducted through the Government e-Marketplace or GeM portal, the Union government has prohibited all its arms from citing “excuses" such as urgency, non-availability of internet connection or non-functioning of the portal to procure goods and services of common use from elsewhere.

“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," said a finance ministry circular issued to all central ministries, departments and public sector enterprises. The GeM Availability Report and Past Transaction Summary (GeMARPTS) ID is now mandatory for all government procurement 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.

The government’s e-commerce portal GeM has supported thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the pandemic, and it is one of the Centre’s core policy initiatives to promote micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), said one of the two officials cited above and who works for the commerce ministry.

“Transactions though GeM portal are also crucial to provide business opportunities to small companies registered with the portal," the 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. More than 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," the official said.

The GeM took a number of initiatives since March 2020 to facilitate trade of covid essentials through the online portal, said the second official who was directly involved in the process. “Several covid-19 specific categories were created for government organizations 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.

“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 under the covid-19 categories, he said. “From March 23, 2020 to January 31, 2021, the order value of procurement of goods from these covid-19 categories was 5,061.56 crore," the official said.

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