Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The order value of Covid-related products from the Amazon of public procurement – Government eMarketplace (GeM) by the government organisations, departments, ministries, etc., has declined significantly in November after peaking in October since March 2020. The government’s purchase of such goods including medical and auxillary products through GeM stood at Rs 389.4 crore in November down 61 per cent from Rs 996.9 crore in October, based on the analyses of the data sourced from GeM. The government had enabled the procurement of medical and auxillary goods via GeM to cater to the immediate need of ventilators, Covid kits, and masks amid initial shortage of such products and spiralling Covid cases post February.
The government procurement of medical goods such as Rapid Antigen Test kits, Real Time PCR kits, hand rub and sanitisers, masks and auxillary goods such as waste containers, sanitary napkins, plastic moulded chairs etc., in March was worth Rs 343.4 crore. The monthly procurement took time to pick up with order value scaling to Rs 553.9 crore in August before growing further in October and plunging down to the November levels. The fall was registered on the back of decline in products bought via bidding and reverse auction channels from Rs 874.4 crore in order value in October to Rs 266.6 crore in November. In contrast, the order value via direct purchase and buying from sellers having the lowest price of goods (L1) increased, though marginally, from Rs 122.5 crore to Rs 122.8 crore during the said period.
The volume of orders placed has also been on a steady decline. While orders for medical category goods saw a fall from 20,941 orders in June 2020 to 14,198 orders in November across all channels to procure goods. The combined order volume (from all channels including direct purchase and L1, and bidding and reverse auction) for auxillary categories stood at 15,934 in November. The highest order volume for auxillary goods was in March at 27,883.
The government had earlier urged MSMEs in manufacturing or supply of Covid essentials to register on GeM to boost supplies. The government had listed 39 medical items such as ventilators, N95 masks, disposable thermometers, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, protective gowns etc and 61 auxiliary items such as soap, chairs, tables, bedsheets, computers, extension boards etc. The government had also asked 18 technology centres or tool rooms for MSMEs to manufacture masks, sanitisers, ventilators etc., the MSME ministry had tweeted back in April.