The government e-market place (GeM) is attracting sellers of products like hand sanitisers and face masks in droves amid the lockdown. The data compiled by the Commerce Ministry shows that 26,589 sellers have listed 1,23,373 products for medical and auxiliary use in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention and management till April 23.
Since March 1, there are 17,185 unique orders in the medical category and 28,964 orders in the auxiliary category of COVID-19 products on GeM. While alcohol based hand sanitisers, face masks, ICU ventilators, surgical drapes and surgical masks saw most demand in the medical category by value, it were computers, waste containers, computer printers, plastic moulded chair and sanitary napkins that sold most in the auxiliary category. The total value of the orders recieved in the medical category and auxillary category was Rs 190.5 crore and Rs 250.7 crore respectively.
Last month, the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) had asked the asked manufacturers and suppliers of ICU ventilators, alcohol-based hand sanitisers, face masks, and auxiliary items like computer, printer, soap, table, chair, etc to approach their respective state governments and register on the GeM platform.
In order to facilitate procurement of COVID-19 related items, the government has also shortened the procurement cycle. The bid cycle was reduced to 3 days from 10 days, and buyers were asked to reduce the delivery time to 2 days. The buyers - central government agencies and institutions - were allowed to filter local sellers for purchases upto Rs 5 lakh for faster delivery of goods.
The government has also introduced a new business rule to control price increase of such items, beyond prioritising products and approving brands to fasten the process. For suppliers of other items, whose delivery is stuck due to the lockdown, the government has extended the delivery period by 30 days beyond the expiry of the original delivery period.
The central government's e-procurement portal has 44,730 buyers organisations and 3,65,180 registered sellers and service providers. It has facilitated transactions worth Rs 52,112 crore from across 6,024 products and 118 services categories listed on the portal. Over half of the orders, by value, is served by the 87,084 MSMEs registered as sellers on GeM.
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