The nearly 100-year-old procurement arm of the Central Government — the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) — will close down on October 31, a senior official has said.
The closure of DGS&D, which traces its origin to London during the British raj, follows the government’s shift to the Commerce Ministry’s e-market platform (GeM) set up last year for public procurement of goods and services.
About 1,100 of its employees are being shifted to different departments, including income-tax, while the senior officers are likely to be accommodated in other branches of the government by the Department of Personnel and Training, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
The DGS&D assets, which are present across the country, would be transfered to the Land and Development Office of Urban Development Ministry.
The directorate has four regional offices, including Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. It has 12 purchase directorates (commodity—wise) at its headquarters here. Besides, there are 20 offices/sub centres and the staff strength is over 1,200.
DGS&D has its origins in the India Stores Department, which was established in 1860 in London by the British for centralised purchase of goods for India.
In 1922, the department was established in India to arrange purchases for the government’s civil departments as well as the military. In 1951, Purchase and Inspection set-up was reorganised and DGS&D was constituted, in its present form, to handle all government purchases centrally.
A minor restructuring happened in 1974, when defence and railways were allowed to procure items meant for their exclusive use. The directorate has two professional service cadres — Indian Supply Service and Indian Inspection Service.
Last year, GeM was launched by the ministry to bring greater transparency and efficiency in public procurement. The GeM portal has eliminated human interface in vendor registration, order placement and payment processing to a great extent.
The central and state governments procure goods and services worth over Rs 5 lakh crore annually. Currently, over 34,010 sellers are registered on this portal for selling over 1,91,037 products.