Bikky Khosla | 11 Sep, 2018
Last week saw the launch of a national mission on Government
eMarketplace (GeM). The objective is to promote inclusiveness by
empowering MSMEs, start-ups, domestic manufacturers, women entrepreneurs, and
self-help groups. Under the mission, the Central and State Governments along
with Banks and PSUs will undertake a range of activities, including organising
of workshops, roadshows, trainings, and communication activities, including
buyer and seller registration. No doubt this is a welcome step.
GeM, the National Public Procurement Portal, was launched on
August 9, 2016 and if official figures are accepted, it has grossed over Rs.
10,000 crore (in GMV) in last two years through more than 6.16 lacs transactions.
It has made over 4.2 lakh products available through a network of over 1.3 lakh
sellers, while buyers from across 36 states and UTs are buying on the platform.
As far as MSMEs are concerned, more than 40 percent of transactions by volume
are done with such units registered on the platform.
No doubt, this
level of achievement is commendable. On the one hand, GeM has saved a lot of
time and money for PSUs in finding credible vendors, and on the other
hand it has brought together leading PSUs from across sectors and MSMEs, paving
a way for long-term supply relationships between them. Additionally, GeM has
provided a learning experience for MSMEs, making them aware about the product/service
requirements, procurement policies, delivery terms, tender documentation, etc. followed
by leading PSUs.
But I think there is a lot more potential to be tapped. Currently, a total of 1,33,000 sellers
and service providers are listed in the GeM portal, but this number is very small, considering the size of our MSME
sector only. So, definitely initiatives like the one announced last week
are welcome. Government needs to play its part in increasing the number of vendors, particularly from the
MSME sector, on this platform. At the same time, it is equally important that
MSMEs themselves do not allow this opportunity to slip by.
I invite your opinions.