Govt e-market asks sellers to declare country of origin

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Published: June 24, 2020 2:01 AM

While GeM says it has taken this step to promote ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India), the move also comes days after a deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers.

Industry executives have often pointed out that several Chinese sellers are supplying to Indian consumers through online platforms in contravention of various rules.Industry executives have often pointed out that several Chinese sellers are supplying to Indian consumers through online platforms in contravention of various rules.

The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) under the ministry of commerce and industry has made it mandatory for sellers to enter the ‘country of origin’ while registering new products on it. The main platform for various official procurements has also stipulated that sellers, who has already uploaded their products, are being reminded regularly to update the ‘country of origin’, failing which their items will be removed from the platform, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

While GeM says it has taken this step to promote ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India), the move also comes days after a deadly border clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers. Sub-standard and cheap Chinese products often make their way into the Indian market, more so through online platforms. The government has ramped up efforts to curb the inflows of such low-grade imports and their consumption here. Industry executives have often pointed out that several Chinese sellers are supplying to Indian consumers through online platforms in contravention of various rules.

“GeM has also enabled a provision for indication of the percentage of local content in products. With this new feature, now, the country of origin as well as the local content percentage are visible in the marketplace for all items,” it says.

Announcing the Budget for FY21, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government was aiming at raising the turnover of GeM to Rs 3 lakh crore. Public procurement worth Rs 50,000 crore was expected to take place through GeM in FY20, against Rs 33,366 crore in the previous year.

The platform has also enabled a ‘Make in India’ filter. Buyers can choose to buy only those products that meet a minimum 50% local content criteria. In case of bids, buyers can now reserve any bid for class-I local suppliers (local content in excess of 50%). For those bids below Rs 200 crore, only class-I and class-II local suppliers (local content above 50% and above 20%, respectively) are eligible to bid, with class-I supplier getting purchase preference.

Separately, the industry ministry, earlier this month, notified that no global tender will be floated for official procurement up to Rs 200 crore, in sync with its announcements last month under the Atmanirbhar package to ensure that local businesses, especially the small and medium ones, don’t face unfair competition from large foreign companies with deep pockets. Earlier, no global tenders were floated for purchases up to just Rs 50 lakh. Class-I suppliers are to get preference over others, as per this notification as well.

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