THE excitement and celebrations after a GeM of a success was evident throughout this month. Government e-marketplace (GeM), the public procurement portal for MSMEs to sell goods directly to Government departments and public enterprises, posted encouraging returns in 2022-23. The celebratory messages and laudations exchanged in April were understandable.
GeM registered 88 per cent growth in its gross merchandise value (GMV) or annual procurement in the financial year 2022-23. It reached an all-time high of Rs 2 lakh crore from Rs 1.06 lakh crore in FY22.
Savings and transparency
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 20 shared an article written by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on the GeM impact in various departments. In reply to the tweet by the minister, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted: “Union Minister Shri @PiyushGoyal elaborates how @GeM_India platform led to savings by departments and encouraged transparency as well as fair competition for vendors.”
Earlier, Goyal himself tweeted the FY23 GMV early this month. GeM’s cumulative GMV since its launch in August 2016 stood at Rs 3.93 lakh crore, as per available data on its website. The total procurement in the fiscal ended March 31, 2023, stood at Rs 2,00,401 crore compared to Rs 1,06,547 crore in FY’22 (a growth of 88.1 per cent), said a statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
GeM “is catering to the diverse procurement needs of over 67,000 government buyer organisations. The portal features over 11,700 product categories with more than 32 lakh listed products, as well as over 280 service categories with more than 2.8 lakh service offerings. Based on various studies, the minimum savings on the platform are about 10 per cent, which translates into a savings of about Rs 40,000 crore worth of public money”, it added.
An inclusive platform
GeM is an online platform for public procurement, envisaged by the Prime Minister. The initiative was launched on August 9, 2016, by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with the objective of creating an inclusive, efficient, and transparent platform for the buyers and sellers to carry out procurement activities in a fair and competitive manner.
It was launched replacing the earlier Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D). As Goyal wrote in a national daily, “Vanijya Bhawan, the new office building of the commerce and industry ministry, has been built on the land once occupied by DGS&D”.
In less than seven years, GeM has turned around the ecosystem of public procurement in the country through technology, digitisation of processes, digital integration of all stakeholders, and the use of analytics, added a ministry release.
GeM is an example of how digital platforms created with a strategic and clear intent to reinvigorate and reimagine legacy processes can bring about lasting change for the nation as well as the underserved. GeM has been effectively contributing to the government’s commitment of “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”, it added.
“The platform enables multiple procurement modes (direct purchase, L1 procurement, bidding, reverse auction, bid followed by reverse auction). GeM has evolved as a trustbased platform and is contactless, paperless, and cashless, where authentication of users is done through API integration with respective domain databases like Aadhaar, PAN, Startup, GSTN, MCA21, etc. The marketplace includes policies for automated market adjustments as well as end-to-end digital processes that support a thriving buyer-seller ecosystem,” the statement said.
Through automation and digitisation of processes, GeM has led to higher process efficiency, better informationsharing, improved transparency, reduced process cycle times, and a higher level of trust among bidders, which in turn have resulted in greater competition and higher savings. These innovations in GeM have also brought down waiting times and prices for buyers significantly and ensured timely payments to sellers. This is also expected to enhance the overall easeof-doing-business’ while also promoting the highest standards of quality in public procurement in India, it said.