As India prepares for a surge in coronavirus cases, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has asked manufacturers and suppliers of medical equipment - ventilators, alcohol-based hand rub, face shield (eye, nose and mouth protection), N95 masks, and auxiliary items like soap, rubb hall tents, tables, chairs, printer, computer - to approach their respective state governments and register on the Centre's e-marketplace, GeM platform.
The MSME Ministry, in a statement to industry bodies including the Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME), said, ''Government of India would like to reach out to you if you are in the field of manufacturing or supply of following items related to use in COVID-19 (Coronavirus)."
The ministry asked them to ''inform state government/Union Territories and register as a supplier at government e-market (GeM) platform, https://gem.gov.in''.
'GeM' is the government's self-sustaining portal hosted by Directorate General of Supplies and Goods (DGS&D) where common user goods and services can be procured.
Additionally, the GeM portal has also created a dedicated page on its platform for medical and protective equipment - thermal scanners, biohazard bags and disinfectants - to help the government fight coronavirus outbreak, said an official.
GeM CEO Talleen Kumar, said, "All original equipment manufacturers, re-sellers, and suppliers for these products are being identified for on boarding on GeM portal. So far, we have created 95 categories on the platform."
He said shorter duration bids with a shorter delivery period for specific categories have been fixed.
"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 critical nature of the items," he said.
He added that the new page for tracking COVID-19 categories and the number of sellers will be live from Saturday.
Kumar also said PFMS (public financial management system) buyers can now place orders without blocking the fund and this facility will remain available till March 31.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), while presenting seventh Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2019-20 on Friday, also announced a slew of measures for MSMEs, including a 3-month moratorium on payment of instalments of all term loan EMIs.
As India enters Day 4 of the nationwide lockdown, the total number of active coronavirus in India has surged to over 900, including 20 deaths says the Health and Family Affairs Ministry data. The number also includes 748 active cases and 66 patients who have recovered.
(With inputs from PTI)