Government e-Marketplace (GeM), a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has taken a number of initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. GeM, which operates a dynamic, self-sustaining and user friendly portal for procurement of goods and services by Government offices, has taken steps to enable quick, efficient, transparent and cost-effective purchases in this hour of need. Procurement on GeM has been authorized by General Financial Rules by making necessary changes in government rules. Presently more than 7400 products in about 150 product categories and hiring of transport service are available on GeM portal. GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.
The steps taken recently are as follows:
- A dedicated page for COVID 19 related categories has been created on GeM: https://gem.gov.in/covid19
- Following categories have been created for medical supplies in addition to the 32 existing ones and are live on GeM:
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sample Collection Kit
- Reusable vinyl/rubber gloves (cleaning)
- Eye protection (visor/goggles)
- Disposable thermometers.
- Single-use towels
- UV tube light for sterilization.
- Surgical Isolation Face Shield
- Medical waste incinerator
- Following categories have been created for auxiliary supplies in addition to 52 categories and 7 services that existed:
- General purpose tool kit
- Wrought aluminum utensils
- With this, all categories recommended by NITI Ayog in medical and auxiliary supplies are now on GeM. All OEMs, resellers and suppliers for the above newly created categories are being identified for onboarding on GeM.
- The total number of COVID-19 related categories on GeM as on date are:
Detailed list of categories for medical and auxiliary supplies are enclosed at Annexure – 1 and Annexure – 2 respectively.
- The timelines and status of various interventions for ease of procurement for COVID-19 related items are as follows-
- Shorter duration Bids with shorter delivery period for specific categories. Bid Cycle for COVID-19 related categories has been reduced to 3 days from existing 10 days. Buyers would also be able to reduce the Delivery Period for such items to 2 days considering the time critical nature of the items. This is already live on the portal.
- Filter for Delivery Lead Time selection by buyer in L1 buying. Will be live by 1 April 2020
- Prioritization of Product/Brand Approval for Covid Specific Categories. Will be live by 28 March 2020
- New business rule for controlling price increase. Will be live by 1 April 2020
- Allow Delivery Period Extension 30 days beyond expiry of original Delivery Period. Will be live by 28 March 2020.
- New business rule to stock out sellers who do not update stock within 48 hours of notification for specific categories. This is already live.
- New page for tracking COVID-19 categories and the number of sellers. Will be live by 28 March 2020.
- The World Bank increased procurement threshold at GeM for COVID 19 Response Project, from $ 1 Lakh to $ 1 Million.
- Seller Onboarding:
- OEMs & Sellers have been identified for eight new COVID categories
- Relevant medical categories were searched on GeM and outside GeM. Targeted mailers were sent to appx. 10,000 sellers including OEMs. Mail content detailed new Covid-19 categories and prioritization introduced by GeM in brand & product approval process for faster onboarding.
- OEMs & sellers have also been contacted telephonically. 200+ such sellers have been engaged. They have been informed about the new Covid-19 categories created by GeM and have been asked to onboard. OEMs have been asked to ask their resellers to onboard and hold sufficient inventory levels.
- OEMs & Sellers have been exhorted to view the current situation as an opportunity and contribute in whatever way they can to the requirements of a national health emergency.
- OEMs/Sellers outside GeM have also been guided on how to get in contact with regional business facilitators.
- OEMs are being sensitised about the orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, exempted businesses and various SOPs. Online link: https://www.ndma.gov.in/en/ has also been shared.
- Brand approval & product approval requests from OEMs/Sellers have been accorded topmost priority and have been cleared on the same day.