Govt ecommerce portal GeM to implement timely payments, ratings, and private buyer access
Public procurement portal Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is working on a series of steps including a mechanism for timely payment to registered small businesses and MSMEs, and rating buyers and sellers to promote its growth, a senior government official said.
The Commerce Ministry launched GeM in August 2016 with the objective of creating an open and transparent procurement platform for government.
We are working on several things like ensuring timely payment to vendors, helping MSMEs get working capital from banks, and ratings for both buyer and seller to improve efficiency," the official said.
Currently, a buyer has to pay in 10 days to vendor, but it is not being implemented properly.
"Timely payment will help the government in promoting competition among vendors and MSME growth. We are working on a system which would strictly ensure payments in a fixed timeline to the vendor if quality and other things are okay," the official added.
GeM is also formulating a mechanism to rate both sellers and buyers. If a buyer does not pay on time, the rating will be affected and sellers would be cautious in delivering goods and services. Similarly, if a seller does not deliver goods on time and if there are quality issues, the rating will be low.
Good ratings will help sellers in getting working capital at affordable cost from banks on sharing transaction history.
"Banks can see rating and risk history of buyers and accordingly lend at low cost. Through this, we can establish credit linkage to MSMEs," the official added.
The government is also considering widening the ambit of GeM by permitting government contractors and private bulk buyers to use the platform for buying goods and services.
Currently, they are not allowed to procure goods and services from the GeM platform managed by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
At present, government departments, ministries, public sector units, state governments, and Central Armed Police Forces are allowed to carry out transactions through this portal.
According to GeM, over 2.72 lakh sellers and service providers have registered with the portal so far, and have sold over 12 lakh products and 15 thousand services.
In April 2019, it was reported GeM grossed over Rs 23,000 crore worth of sales through over 17 lakh transactions in 2018-19. 42 percent of these transactions, sorted by volume, were done with MSMEs registered on the platform.
The sales are expected to increase as the government has made it mandatory for all the departments and ministries to source goods and services from the e-marketplace.
Automobiles, computers, and office furniture are currently the top product categories on the portal. Services including transportation, logistics, waste management, web casting and analytics, among others, are listed on the portal.