GeM to seek Centre’s nod to auction work contracts

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New Delhi, Mar 29 (ANI): Government e Marketplace (GeM) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prashant Kumar Singh addresses a press conference sharing insights on GMV growth achieved in the fiscal year 2023–24, on Friday. (ANI Photo)
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Government e Marketplace (GeM), an online platform for public procurement of goods and services, plans to seek the Centre’s approval to enable work contracts for construction and building projects to also be bid out through the platform with a transparent monitoring mechanism to assess the progress in such contracts.

This is part of a broader reboot of the GeM platform, which is now used for everything from critical defence procurements to services like aircraft chartering and printing of election-related material, envisaged for the coming year, its chief executive officer P K Singh said on Friday.

The planned upgrade includes a revamp of its online interface to switch to an open Application Programming Interface (API) architecture, that will allow individual departments, States, and local bodies to create customised micro-procurement portals with multi-lingual interfaces and flexibilities for local rules.

Launched in May 2016, the GeM platform offers over 12,000 product and 320 service categories generally sought by central and State government departments, and has even onboarded 90,000 Gram Panchayats as buyers.

On Thursday evening, a service procurement order from the State Bank of India worth about ₹400 crore pushed the total gross merchandise value of procurements done through the GeM platform this year beyond the ₹4 lakh crore mark – double the ₹2.01 lakh crore recorded in 2022-23.

On work contracts, Mr. Singh said the tendering process is often time-consuming, starting with the need to draft Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that can take six months to a year, and the tendering process often attracts only local contractors and also faces delays.

If the GeM is allowed for such projects, a contractor in Kerala can bid for work in Rajasthan and the project’s progress can be monitored online. Milestone-linked payments released electronically which save contractors from having to pursue officers, and post-contract management features can also be included, the GeM CEO said.

Products used to dominate the GeM procurements till last year but now account for 49% of merchandise value, Mr. Singh said, adding that Defence Ministry purchases worth ₹50,000 crore have taken place this year alone.

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