Public procurement portal GeM has come out with an approach paper for stakeholder consultations as it is exploring ways to bring works on the platform with an aim to further widen its scope, a senior official said.
Currently, only goods and services providers are registered on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, which was launched in 2016 for online purchase of goods and services by all central government ministries and departments. It is mandatory for them to procure goods and services from the portal.
Works include road and building construction, and setting up of big plants and other facilities. Currently, the facility for procuring these works is not available on GeM platform. "Big contractors which provide these works are not there on the GeM portal. So we have come out with an approach paper for stakeholder consultations to explore ways of bringing in these works on the portal," GeM CEO Talleen Kumar told PTI.
He said allowing procurement of these works will make the platform a national procurement portal for all kinds of purchases by states, centre and government agencies. After seeking views of all stakeholders, including states and central governments, GeM would approach the centre for further action.
In a letter to secretaries of the central government and chief secretaries of all states and union territories, Kumar said GeM is currently mandated to provide a platform for procurement of goods and services for central and state government organisations, and now it is moving ahead for creating a unified procurement system in the country for providing a single platform for purchases of goods, services and works.
GeM has carried out a detailed analysis of the bid documents currently being used by public works departments of five states, Ministries of Defence and Railways, NTPC, IOCL, CPWD, NHAI, NHIDCL and PGCIL. A total of 47 bid documents for works contracts actually used by these organisations in the recent past have been studied and findings of these documents have been shared in the approach paper.
The paper has also provided details of a tech tool -- RFP Builder -- which has been developed by GeM. It leverages technology and will enable the procuring entities (PEs) to develop their own customised bid documents by choosing from the templates of standard bid documents.
GeM has sought views, comments and suggestions of ministries and departments which might be engaged in procurement of works. They can provide their views preferably by December 28 this year. Since its inception, GeM has brought about a paradigm shift in the procurement of goods and services by PEs, Kumar said.
It provides a national platform to over 17 lakh products and over 7.5 lakh sellers and service providers, and has crossed transaction value of over Rs 71,900 crore. It has brought down both the transaction time and costs for procurement of goods and services, and has enhanced the reach of the units in the MSME sector.
The RFP Builder proposed in the approach paper is expected to usher in greater economy, efficiency and transparency in procurement of works, he said, adding that to begin with, the builder is proposed to be used only for works contracts using National Competitive Bidding (NCB) procedures.
"In order to finalise the approach towards bringing works procurement on GeM, it is planned to carry out extensive stakeholder consultations. This approach paper is a step in that direction," the CEO said. Over 1,490 software processes have been implemented/enhanced from August 2019 for providing a number of features and functionalities for transparent, convenient and cost effective procurement from the portal.
Further, he said, the work on integration of GeM with the Integrated Material Management System (iMMS) and Indian Railways Electronic Procurement System (iMMS/ IRePS) is underway and is expected to be completed by January 2021.