The Government of India has laid special emphasis on the reforms required in its public procurement process. In a major step that aims to transform the way in which procurement of goods and services is done by Ministries/Departments, PSUs and autonomous bodies etc, the government has recently announced the launch of Government e-Marketplace (GeM). The idea of GeM was mooted in recommendations of two Groups of Secretaries made to the Hon’ble Prime Minister in January 2016. The recommendations included setting up of a dedicated e-market for different goods & services procured/sold by Government/PSUs. Subsequently, the Hon’ble Finance Minister in his Budget speech for FY 2016-17, announced setting up of a technology driven platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various Ministries and agencies of the Government.
The Government e-Marketplace (www.gem.gov.in) was formally launched in August 2016 by the Hon’ble Commerce & Industry Minister. Transactions for more than INR 140 crore (US$ 20.5 million) have been processed through GeM since its launch (Source: PIB release id 157610 dated January 23, 2017). The platform today boasts of over 7400 products in about 150 categories. Being a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface, GeM offers clear advantages like transparency, efficiency and security. GeM also has the potential to support key government initiatives like Make in India and Digital India.
Needless to mention, GeM is expected to result in huge savings for the government. GeM is also doing demand aggregation for items that are to be procured by various Central/State Government Departments which, according to reports, is expected to result in annual savings to the tune of INR 40,000 crore (US$ 5.87 billion) per annum. GeM has an opportunity to emerge as the single platform for India’s National Public Procurement Program and result in massive annual savings in public procurement, besides giving a fillip to the domestic industry.