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Government Launches National Outreach Program On Web Portal

GeM Samvaad
Image credit: gem.gov.in

The government has launched a national outreach program under its online procurement portal, GeM (government e-marketplace).

The e-marketplace, which functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is used for the procurement of common use goods and services by ministries, departments and central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).

GeM offers end-to-end solutions for procurement needs. Apart from government departments, it also caters to autonomous institutions and local bodies. It leverages technology and is working to make procurement contactless, paperless, and cashless.

The outreach program, GeM Samvaad, was launched earlier this month. It is a dialogue between buyers and sellers, according to the GeM website.

The program will take place with stakeholders across the country to facilitate the on-boarding of local sellers on the marketplace while catering to specific requirements and the procurement needs of buyers.

The outreach program will take place from 19 December 2019 to 17 February 2020. It will cover every state and union territory.

Through GeM Samvaad, the marketplace will receive feedback from users that will be used to make improvements and advancements in the system.

GeM has more than 1.5 million products and around 20,000 services. There are over 300,000 registered sellers and service providers on the site, and more than 40,000 government buyer organisations.

Since its inception three years ago, GeM has processed more than 2.8 million orders worth IN ₹40,000 crores (about US $5.6 million) in gross merchandise value, out of which 50% has been transacted by MSMEs.

State departments and organisations and public sector enterprises (PSEs) are using the e-marketplace for their buying needs. Sellers from the state also benefit through access to the national public procurement market using the portal.

Earlier this year, GeM launched an initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups (WSHGs) to sell handmade crafts, home décor, and jute products, among others.

In a press release, the government noted that the initiative aims to develop women entrepreneurship to support gender-inclusive economic growth.

Nearly 80% of women-owned establishments are self-financed, as OpenGov reported earlier. More than 60% of 8 million units are owned or led by women entrepreneurs from socially-challenged sections of society.

Since women tend to invest up to 90% of their earnings back into their families, to provide nutrition, healthcare, and education, economic empowerment for women is a step in the direction of poverty alleviation for the country.

On the Womaniya homepage, products like handicrafts, handlooms, accessories, jute and coir products, and home décor and office furnishings are categorised for ease-in-procurement. The initiative is in line with the government’s scheme for MSMEs, specifically to reserve 3% of procurement from women entrepreneurs.

As of January, this year, there are approximately 500 million internet users in India and women account for 33% (143 million). They control about 44% of household spending. Womaniya will spur hyper-local economic opportunities for women entrepreneurs and address the objectives of the United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Earlier this month, GeM signed two agreements with the Bank of Maharashtra and UCO bank to integrate banking and payment services into their digital ecosystem. The pact also includes advising performance bank guarantees (e-PBG).

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