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FY19-20 witnessed the highest number of orders placed on GeM. Since the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, there was a decline in the orders and value o

However, soon after, July to September 2020 during unlock 1.0, 2.0 activity for MSMEs and SMEs started improving with a sudden rise in demand on medical and health-related products and services. 

Impact of the pandemic

Due to the pandemic, organisations and vendors and sellers were affected due to the loss of business activities across products and services which were non-essential. However, affected organisations, local vendors and sellers took this opportunity and registered themselves under the GeM portal to recover their business loss during the re-opening of the economic activities from July 2020 to February 2021.

The GeM platform helps create a powerful impact on several constituents of society in multiple ways, for instance:

  • Creating opportunities for SMEs, woman self-help groups (SHG)

  • Boosting Indian startups and innovation 

  • Driving implementation of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’

  • Increased public savings up to 56 percent

  • Rating of sellers, to arrest any deficiencies in quality products and services delivered 

GeM also introduced exclusive features, some of them are described below:

Startup Runway 2.0: An opportunity for startups to highlight their innovative products and services to Government buyers and engage in public procurement. GeM has created a dedicated marketplace category for all startups to list their products and services, irrespective of their DPIIT-certification.

Startups can list multiple products and services with minimal technical specifications and sell their products to Government buyers under 13 globally recognised startup sub-sectors, such as; Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, Advertising (AdTech), Agriculture (AgriTech and new foods], Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and Analytics, Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Blockchain, Clean Tech/Renewables, Consumer home electronics (+wearables, smart devices], Cybersecurity, education tech [EdTech], FinTech, Health & Life Sciences, and WaterTech.

The platform offers startups all the marketplace functionalities that are available to regular sellers and the objective is to spur "Make in India" procurement from Indian startups. To date, 3,981 startups have registered on GeM and have processed orders worth Rs 689 crore in gross merchandise value (GMV).

MSME, SC/ST entrepreneurs on GeM: GeM is collaborating with various stakeholders from the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) ecosystem with a special focus on entrepreneurs from the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes (SC/ST). The partnership is based on the objective of achieving the mandatory procurement goal of 25 percent from MSMEs and a sub-target procurement of 4 percent goods and services from MSME entrepreneurs within SC/ST communities, by all government departments and the Public Sector Enterprises (PSE). This initiative encourages active participation of the MSE sector in public procurement. To date, nearly 3.19 lakh sellers have registered on GeM and have processed orders worth Rs 38,905 crore in GMV, of which approximately 68,286 are MSME sellers who have bagged orders worth Rs 20,263 crore in GMV.

Womaniya: ‘Womaniya’ initiative to promote products made by women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs], and spur women entrepreneurship by aligning them with opportunities to sell their products to various Government ministries, departments, and institutions. GeM has specially categorized products such as handicrafts and handloom, accessories, jute and coir products, bamboo products, organic foods, spices, home décor, and office furnishings for ease-in-procurement. Womaniya aligns with the Government’s initiative of reserving 3 percent in public procurement from women MSME entrepreneurs and this offers immense potential for procurement.

The Saras Collection: The Saras Collection is a pristine handcrafted collection of handicrafts, handloom textiles, office décor, furnishings, accessories, event souvenirs, and personal hygiene and care products from top-of-the-line SHGs in India. Social inclusion is one of the core values at GeM and we are focused on ensuring the participation of women entrepreneurs, self-help groups, artisans, weavers, and micro-entrepreneurs who face challenges in accessing government markets.

Future opportunities:

  • Collaboration with portals of other Central Government departments, such as the defense procurement portal, and the Indian Railways eProcurement System (IREPS) as this may create a National Public Procurement Portal and reap benefits of scale and efficiency.

  • Leveraging government delivery services for efficient, faster competitive delivery

  • Educating the vendors and bidders to use the online portal, enhancing the user interface for buyers

  • Collaborating with government-based NGOs for women to create employment opportunities and to promote and empower women entrepreneurs

  • Efficient customer care, registration, training, and onboarding procedures to ensure a seamless experience for buyers and sellers while using the platform

  • Market intelligence to ensure value for stakeholders i.e., right quality at the right price through extensive pricing benchmarks, insight, and knowledge

GeM has the potential to unleash the power of technology in supporting large value and volume of procurement in Railways, Defense, and CPSUs. GeM continues to assist government departments, ministries, public sector units, state governments, and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to fight against the pandemic with essential supplies and services which are procured in record time. 

Notably, the MSME seller count jumped nearly 5x in 12 months amid COVID-19. GeM instills more stability in procurement processes, continues to refine products and services under Make in India initiatives, to make the procurement process transparent and much easier in the marketplaces. GeM will continue to pave the path of growth and drive MSME sustainability and foster innovation among startups to constantly play a differential role to ensure quality products and services at better price points.