GeM working on a series of steps to strengthen the public procurement portal

New Delhi, September 1 () The GeM public procurement portal is working on a series of steps that include a mechanism for timely payment to sellers and qualifying buyers and sellers to promote their growth, said a senior government official .

The Ministry of Commerce launched Government e-Marketplace (GeM), an online platform for public purchases, in August 2016 with the aim of creating an open and transparent purchasing platform for the government, which runs in several lakh crore.

We are working on several things, such as ensuring timely payment to suppliers, helping MSMEs to obtain working capital from banks and qualifying both the buyer and the seller to improve efficiency, the official said.

Currently, a buyer has to pay the supplier in 10 days, but it is not being implemented correctly.

Timely payment will help the government to promote competition between suppliers and the growth of MSMEs. We are working on a system that would strictly guarantee payments in a fixed term to the supplier if the quality and other things are fine, the official added.

GeM is also formulating a mechanism to rate both sellers and buyers.

If a buyer does not pay on time, the rating will be affected and the sellers will be cautious in the delivery of goods and services. Similarly, if a seller does not deliver the products on time and if there are quality problems, the rating will be bad.

Good ratings will help sellers obtain working capital at an affordable cost from banks by sharing transaction history.

So we are working on all these steps. Banks can view the rating and risk history of buyers and, consequently, can also lend at low cost. Through this, we can establish a credit link with MSMEs, the official added.

The government is also considering expanding the scope of GeM by allowing government contractors and private bulk buyers to use the platform to purchase goods and services.

Currently, they are not allowed to acquire goods and services from the GeM platform managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

At present, government departments, ministries, public sector units, state governments and central armed police forces can carry out transactions through this portal.

Talleen Kumar, IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, was recently appointed as the new executive director of GeM.

According to GeM, 2,72,283 vendors and service providers have registered on the portal so far to sell 12,00,481 products and 15,982 services.

The government has made it mandatory for all departments and ministries to obtain goods and services from their electronic market.

The portal offers a wide range of products, from office stationery to vehicles. Cars, computers and office furniture are currently the main product categories.

The services, including transport, logistics, waste management, web transmission and analysis, among others, are listed on the portal. Public procurement worth Rs 50,000 crore is expected to be made through GeM during 2019-20, compared to Rs 33,366 crore currently. RR RVK