GeM is leveraging technology to reimagine and reinvigorate public procurement: Talleen Kumar

Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has been a revolutionising step in augmenting supply chains of Indian markets. The digital portal has been handy for buyers and sellers in the country easing the procurement & selling processes and empowering ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India. Talleen Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Government e-Marketplace (GeM), Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, talks in detail about the portal in an exclusive interview with Nisha Samant Purbey and Adarsh Som of Elets News Network (ENN).

In recent times, especially during the lockdown, GeM has been a resort for MSMEs for procurement of supplies. How has GeM managed to cater to the needs?

An inclusive public procurement system not only leverages procurement for promoting domestic manufacturing and investment but also makes it a partner in the growth story of MSMEs, women entrepreneurs, startups, Self Help Groups (SHGs), TRIFED members, artisans, weavers and craftsmen.

True to its commitment as an efficient marketplace, GeM has undertaken various initiatives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to soften the blow to sellers on the platform. This includes reducing the number of days from 25 to five in the procuring cycle for bids for certain categories. Similarly, GeM has also actively sought to make the reason for rejecting bids, transparent to all the sellers. It has extended offer validity and longer delivery periods and integrated with banks/ERP systems to facilitate timely payments and bill discounting. These efforts have enabled wider seller participation; the number of product and service categories on the platform has increased by 118 percent and 77 percent respectively over the past year (September 2019-August 2020). Similarly, the number of sellers has increased by 77 percent while that of MSME sellers by 81 percent. Overall, the cumulative transaction value has seen a considerable increase of 83 percent from Rs 33,687 crore in August 2019 to Rs 61,000+ crore in August 2020.

Earlier, at the India Transformation Summit organised by Elets Technomedia, you mentioned three pillars of GeM — Inclusivity, Usability & Transparency, and Efficiency & Cost Saving. Please elaborate on these.

GeM has engineered one of the biggest change management processes in the country by triggering a massive change in legacy procurement processes and bringing the muchneeded visibility in procurement. This has brought the government to the people in the true sense through the three pillars: (a) Inclusivity by dramatically reducing the cost of doing business while at the same time providing a pan India access to the government buyers (b) Usability and Transparency through use of advanced cutting edge technology and © Efficiency and Cost Savings by being a contactless, paperless and cashless platform, thereby contributing to the realization of the vision of an “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.

It is a shining example of minimum government and maximum governance. With its transparent rule-based processes, the platform has provided a mechanism for efficient transmission of policy intent by ensuring enforcement and compliance by stakeholders, particularly for policies such as PPP-MII and PPP-MSE which is not possible otherwise.

GeM addresses multiple challenges in public procurement, namely, limitations and inefficiencies in the procurement system, time-consuming processes and adherence to multiple procurement guidelines through a marketplace model. The features and functionalities in GeM make it a far superior portal compared to the traditional publishing portals such as the Central Public Procurement Portal, Indian Railway Electronic Procurement System, Defence Public Procurement portals etc. Features such as category-based bidding for goods and services, instant notification about bids to sellers through emails, SMS and dashboards, the dramatic reduction in bid response times, a marketplace based automated applicability of filters such as turnover, past experience, filter for reservation for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) products, filter for reservation for Make in India (MII) products, data on past transaction summary to help buyers judge price reasonability etc. and a host of real-time marketplace functionalities in a secure environment have set GeM apart from all other publishing portals.

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Digital Editor