A central government initiative is on to encourage the adoption of the government e-marketplace (GeM) by states. In the following interview, Srikanth Douripalli, regional manager, GeM- Goa, talks to Shoma Patnaik on range of issues. He says that, Goa’s presence on the national public procurement portal is nascent as yet, but likely to pick up in future as local units are interested in coming on-board.
Q: How successful is the GeM platform as of now?
It is very successful. In its less than two years of existence there are around 4.25 lakh products available for online purchase with 26,000 government organisations and PSUs registered and 1,30,000 sellers and service providers. The portal crossed 6.81 lakh transactions worth Rs. 10,500 crores as on August 20 2018, with an average overall savings of 25 per cent.
Q: Does Goa have a presence in GeM?
Yes. Anybody can register on GeM. If you are a seller you can upload your products on the website. About 20-30 Goan dealers and small units belonging to the MSME sector are registered with us. And as for buyers, Goa Shipyards Ltd., is a buyer and has already made purchases valued at Rs 45 lakh already till now. The state home department has also purchased automobiles through the portal.
Q: How do you plan to popularize the portal among Goan units?
The state has to take the initiative on this. The state government has to conduct the event at the district level with all the departments. Goa is not signed an Memorandum of Understanding with GeM which once signed will make it mandatory for all government departments under GFR rule 149 to procure through GeM. The process for signing the MOU is started and we expect it to be completed by end-December or January. The Goa government I believe is discussing directly with the center on the signing of MoU. There are several issues over which discussions are currently on.
Q: What is the feedback from Goan sellers who are on the GeM platform?
Most of them in touch with me and are happy with the service. The entire process of coming on board and registration is very smooth, transparent and very productive to all the buyers. If the data is correct, the registration takes just 10 minutes. Typical concern of local sellers is of payment getting delayed or not having enough inventory to process the order. Under GeM sellers receive the payment within 10 days after the buyer accepts the goods. The goods have to be supplied within 15 days of getting the order.
Q: The GeM opens up the field to everybody. So a local supplier may not be able to compete with large companies from other states?
Yes, but that is what business is all about. Business is about multiple sellers and competition. Further it is not necessary that small, local suppliers will get sidelined. As a buyer, I first seek the location of my unit. So whose name will pop up in the list? Obviously ninety per cent of names will be of local vendors. So obviously they have more chance of getting the order vis-à-vis outside vendors.