Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal stressed the need to bring all public procurement online to bring in economies of scale and encourage social inclusiveness by promoting MSMEs.

In a review of the progress of the government’s online public procurement platform, Government e Marketplace (GeM), the Minister suggested bringing in end-to-end online fulfillment and payment for all transactions on the portal.

“It was noted that more than 95 per cent of all the physical order deliveries since April 2022 happened on time, in cases where online fulfillment and payment was done via GeM,” said an official release issued on Sunday. “Consistent improvement was observed in the on-time delivery across all transaction types via GeM.”

Using AI and machine learning

Goyal suggested revising thresholds and adding features to further accelerate delivery timelines as well as provide more flexibility to government buyers to choose products as per their delivery needs.

Goyal even proposed strong legal and punitive actions against buyers and suppliers engaging in collusion or fraud, the release said. “In addition to detecting such anomalies, GeM also plans to use AI-ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) to make proactive feature simplifications and product suggestions to buyers to ensure informed decision making and savings in public spending,” it said.

GeM was launched on August 9, 2016, by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to create an open and transparent procurement platform for government buyers. As many as 47,80,563 products are available on the GeM platform with 50,45,551 sellers and service providers. It has achieved a total transaction value of ₹2,94,822 crore, according to government figures.