Goods and services worth as much as Rs 1.11 lakh crore have been purchased through the public procurement portal GeM since its inception in August 2016, commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan said on Wednesday, highlighting its growing popularity.
The Government e-Market (GeM) portal is designed to facilitate online purchases of goods and services by ministries/departments and entities belonging to the central and state governments to better ensure transparency in public procurement system.
GeM has so far facilitated 67.27 lakh orders for 52,275 government buyers. Importantly, as many as 6.95 lakh of its total registered sellers and services providers of 18.85 lakh are MSMEs, accounting for 56% of the overall order value.
The growth of sales through the portal has been “exponential”, Wadhawan said. Order value touched Rs 38,000 crore in FY21, up from close to Rs 23,000 crore in the previous year. The value is going to grow, as Centre and states together buy goods and services worth an estimated Rs 5-7 lakh crore every year.
In the first two months of this fiscal, sales have touched Rs 14,000 crore, three-and-half times of the value recorded a year before, said GeM chief executive PK Singh. Of course, a Covid-induced nationwide lockdown was in force in April and May last year. Still, the order value so far this fiscal is well above the longer-term trend. The high growth also reflects the government’s renewed push for the “vocal for local” initiative.
GeM also provides a dedicated platform to start-ups to list their innovative products under 10 globally-recognized subsectors. At present, there are 9,980 start-ups registered with GeM, and 87 of them have listed their innovative products on Startup Runway.
The portal is also steadily moving towards the government’s vision of a unified procurement system. This could consolidate all government procurement into a single, cohesive platform, which will lead to economies of scale and more efficient price discovery.
GeM was also the country’s first e-commerce portal to ask the sellers to mandatorily display the “country of origin” of all products. This came amid mounting concerns that several fake products, especially from countries like China, are making their way into the e-commerce platforms here. The mention of the “country of origin” and the local content in the products is meant to enable the buyers to make informed decisions.