Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Commerce minister Piyush Goyal has suggested bringing in end-to-end online fulfillment and payment for all transactions by buyers on the public procurement portal GeM and improving monitoring of order deliveries against timelines. Chairing a review meeting on GeM’s progress with CEO Prashant Kumar Singh and other officials, Goyal said digital end-to-end procurement would lead to achieving economies of scale and bring social inclusiveness by promoting micro and small enterprises, according to a statement by the commerce ministry on Sunday.
The minister noted that over 95 per cent of all physical order deliveries in the current financial year so far was on time in cases where online fulfillment and payment were done. While consistent improvement was observed in the on-time delivery across all transaction types such as direct purchase, L1, bids or reverse auctions, Goyal shared suggestions to revise thresholds, add features to further accelerate delivery timelines, and provide more flexibility to government buyers to choose products as per their delivery needs, the statement added.
The minister also reviewed the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for tight monitoring and anomaly detection in procurement via GeM and suggested strong legal and punitive actions against buyers and suppliers involved in such activities. The portal is also looking to use AI and ML to make ‘proactive feature simplifications and product suggestions’ for informed decision-making by buyers and savings in public spending. GeM has also planned technical upgrades to improve user experience on the platform, the statement said.
The review comes days after Goyal urged the industry to act as whistleblowers to report wrong declarations on GeM in terms of indigenization of products. Addressing a conclave on Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, 2017 on August 23, the minister said the move would improve the transparency in the procurement process and encourage domestically made goods and services.
GeM had recently crossed the 50-lakh seller base, around five months after it achieved the 40-lakh-seller mark. At the time of filing this report, 5,045,551 sellers and service providers were listed on GeM, of which 8,02,162 were micro and small enterprises.