In a training program organised on Monday by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), National Institute of Financial Management (NIFM) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD), procurement officers of Central government were readied for the newly launched e-marketplace GeM.
The government statement said that the training session was attended by more than 60 procurement officers from about 20 Central government organisations based in Delhi.
It is also the first such training programme in a series of similar pan-India training sessions for all the Central government procurement officers.
With the aim of helping its officials in purchasing goods and services of common use like AC, computer supplies, human resources, housekeeping and much more, the Government of India had launched a new e-marketplace.
Currently, any ministry or department officials can buy goods of up to Rs 50, 000 from the portal. However, anything costing beyond that will have to be made through price comparison, bidding or reverse auction.
The official portal, GeM, which is developed by DGS&D in a span of five months, is a collaborative effort to bring in more transparency. The site, currently, allows sign-in through an official login or a guest registration with Aadhaar card identification. It also has separate registrations for product and service sellers respectively.
The site currently shows that it has been integrated with SBI and Public Financial Management System (PFMS).
Radha Chauhan CEO of NeGD (MeitY), said that the feedback that the officers share will be used for further enhancement of the site. He added that more training sessions are planned for both government buyers as well as sellers in the coming days.
The government procures about 160 goods and services from various vendors, the DGS&D is estimated to buys goods worth Rs 10,000 crore per year for various departments and ministries. Though only a minimal listing of the products and services has been done till now though the government plans to bring in as many stationeries and services as it can by April 2017.
All paying authorities are mandated by the Finance Ministry to complete the payment processes on procurement within a maximum of 10 days. This comes as a huge relief for sellers, who are subjected to an endless wait while dealing with government processes.
Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa stated that although it has been made mandatory on GeM to make payment to the vendors within 10 days of receipt of goods/services, efforts should be made to further reduce this time span.
Lavasa stressed the importance of ensuring the site remains free from manipulation and any unethical practices.
With already raging war among Flipkart, Amazon ad Snapdeal in the e-commerce sector, the entry of such government portals will definitely be challenging.