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Comm Sec Pitches For Expanding Gem To Help MSMEs

The commerce ministry launched GeM in August 2016 with the objective of creating an open and transparent procurement platform for government.

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Public procurement platform GeM needs to expand further and include state level procedures and preferences in the portal so that it can help MSMEs more, Commerce Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said on Monday.

He also suggested tweaking the definition of Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to expand its scope.

The commerce ministry launched GeM in August 2016 with the objective of creating an open and transparent procurement platform for government.

'There is a need to expand further to get the specific state level procedures and preferences on to the GeM platform so that it can expand its footprint and help MSMEs more. GeM also should have a very large mandate to expand its footprint geographically,' the secretary said at industry body CII's National Procurement Conclave 2021.

He said that GeM is a public procurement platform but can the portal think of new directions as in how it can facilitate procurers from the rest of the world.

'I am not saying that we should compete with Flipkart or Amazon, but there could be a space. Where you (GeM) have onboarded so many lakh suppliers onto your system, can you (GeM) provide a window to the world. I know the mandate of GeM does not allow that but maybe there could be public procurement in other countries which may be requiring this,' he said.

If something is being procured by the governments of countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Africa, it would be public procurement in some ways, 'so can we tweak the definitions to actually expand this'.

He expressed confidence that the platform is on the verge of becoming a global leader in many ways.

Further, he said there is a huge potential for GeM as government procurement is about Rs 10-20 lakh crore annually.

'GeM only accounts for 5 per cent of what is procured in government... Still a lot of market is there within the government system which GeM can expand into,' Subrahmanyam said, adding that 'in a way GeM is government's internal eBay'.

The secretary also said that huge potential is there in the area of work contracts.

Currently, government departments, ministries, public sector units, state governments, and Central Armed Police Forces are allowed to carry out transactions through this portal.

The portal provides a wide range of products from office stationery to vehicles. Automobiles, computers and office furniture are currently the top product categories.

Services, including transportation, logistics, waste management, web casting and analytical, are listed on the portal.

So far, over 24 lakh sellers and service providers are registered on the portal to sell 4,52,1302 products and several services. Over Rs 1,27,000 crore-worth of transactions have happened so far on the portal.