MAIT, the apex body representing IT manufacturers has partnered with Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals (DGS&D) to facilitate training of its member companies on Government e-Marketplace (GeM) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
DGS&D is the organization responsible for approving rate contracts at which government entities may make purchases from private organizations. Going forward, the portal GeM.Gov.in has been created for completing transactions online. In this context, it is for the first time that the Government of India is training industry on usage of the online GeM e-procurement platform. With the launch of GeM, a new era of public procurement has been ushered into the country.
The GeM portal has been developed jointly by DGS&D, National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) in a record time, to enable purchase of select goods and services. The entire process flow and software architecture design was conducted in-house to bring greater transparency, speed, and efficiency in the domain of public procurement. A significant feature introduced is that GeM is linked with payment portals of State Bank of India (SBI) and Public Financial Management System (PFMS), making the entire process online.
Around 300 senior industry executives participated at the event which included dignitaries like Ms. Rita Teaotia, IAS, Secretary (Commerce), Govt. of India; Mr. Binoy Kumar, Director General (DGS&D), Ms. S Radha Chauhan, CEO, NeGD; Mr. Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAIT; Ms. Ambika Sharma, Director General (International), FICCI; Mr. Harsh Kumar, Director, NIFM; Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and Mr. M K Bhardwaj, Chairman, PPC, ASSOCHAM.
The salient features of Government e-Marketplace (GeM) include a complete end-to-end procurement system for purchase of common use goods and services by government buyers, including payment to suppliers. It helps in speeding up the administrative work by cutting down transaction costs and simplifying or reducing the process steps. The system enables online registration of suppliers and government buyers using self-certification and authentication through Aadhaar, PAN, MCA21 and Biometric Attendance System (BAS). Seamless processes and standardized specifications provide a complete audit trail. Due to this, system demand aggregation is made possible, which will further make prices very competitive. All transactions made through GeM are completely secure with responsive updates at all stages of processing via emails and SMS.
Around twenty-six (26) categories of products such as computers, office equipment and stationery have been placed on the GeM portal. A national call centre or helpdesk (0120-6619563) has been set up at NOIDA, near Delhi, which will help both the buyers and sellers in conducting their transactions smoothly.
Commenting on the developments, Mr Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAIT said, “GeM will help government offices reduce tedious and time consuming tendering processes. It will bring down administrative and transaction costs, and will enhance transparency in government procurement. Industry will be able conduct end-to-end online sales to government and will be able to receive their payments online. We look forward to seeing how the GeM portal affects procurement of innovative technology-based products, as that would encourage suppliers to sign up in larger numbers. A regular review of the portal with industry will be imperative as it will help to judge the effectiveness of the transition from manual to online mode of procurement. To facilitate more suppliers register with GeM, DGS&D should conduct training programmes in other cities as well.”
In order to enable Government buyers to procure on GeM, General Financial Rules (GFR) have been amended by addition of Rule 141A. The Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India has also issued a directive to all paying authorities to make payments on GeM procurement within a maximum of ten (10) days. It is the responsibility of the buyer/procurement manager to ensure that acceptance or rejection of goods is done within ten (10) days of receipt, else the goods will be deemed accepted.