PMO rejects proposal to open up sourcing, for private players, from GeM portal

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on March 29, 2020

Representative image

Online platform creates more categories for medical supplies in fight against Covid-19, reduces bid cycle time

The Prime Minister’s Office has rejected the Commerce & Industry Ministry’s proposal to allow private players to source goods and services through the Government e-Market (GeM) portal. The online platform will continue to be available exclusively to government departments and public sector units for purchases, a government official has said.

“A detailed presentation of GeM’s growth plans was given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior PMO officials in a meeting a few weeks back, which was largely approved. However, the idea of allowing private players to use the platform to do their sourcing put forward by the Commerce & Industry Ministry officials did not find favour with the PM and his team,” the official familiar with the details of the meeting told BusinessLine.

Launched in 2016 by the Commerce & Industry Ministry, the GeM platform provides online, end-to-end solutions for procurement of commonly used goods and services (over 5,000 categories) for all Central government departments and State governments, public sector units and affiliated bodies. There are over 3.5 lakh sellers on the platform and actual purchase on GeM so far in 2019-20 is about ₹23,000 crore

Nine additional categories

“The GeM team had worked for several months on the possibility of opening up the platform to the private sector and see if it could become one of the top e-retail platforms in the country for all,” the official said. But the idea of allowing private players to source on GeM has been given up as its primary purpose was to help the government in its procurement drive and ensure transparency, he added.

GeM is also doing its bit to meet the challenges of fighting the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the official said. Nine additional categories have been created for medical supplies in addition to the 32 existing ones on the platform. These include sample collection kit, reusable rubber gloves, disposable thermometers and thermal scanners, as per an official note. All Original Equipment Manufacturers, resellers and suppliers for the above newly created categories are being identified for onboarding.

To ensure fast supply of essential equipment, the bid cycle for Covid-19-related categories has been reduced to three days from the existing 10 days. “Buyers would also be able to reduce the delivery period for such items to two days considering the time-critical nature of the items.” the note said.

Published on March 29, 2020

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