Signaling intent: On Government e-Marketplace (GeM)
Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
Why in News:
The Centre’s decision to make it mandatory for vendors on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) procurement platform to specify the country of origin of new products listed by them is on the face of it unexceptionable, aimed as it is at promoting India-made goods. This comes against the backdrop of calls to boycott Chinese goods following border clashes between India and China in Ladakh.
- The sellers who have already added their products on the marketplace have been asked to update the country of the origin and a warning has been issued stating that products will be delisted if the country of origin is not updated.
- In addition to the country of origin, the e-marketplace has a provision where sellers can list the percentage of local content in products.
- With this new feature, now, the country of origin, as well as the local content percentage, are visible in the marketplace for all items.
Government e Marketplace (GeM)
It is a platform which was launched in 2016 as an online, end to end solution for procurement of commonly used goods and services for all Central Government and State Government Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Units (PSUs) and affiliated bodies.
- The goods procured by the Government range from highly standardized goods like A4 printing paper, printing cartridges and electronic goods like printers and laptops to highly specialized goods like drilling equipment and medical equipment.
- Similarly, for services, the spectrum ranges from standard services such as security services, chauffeur services and gardening services to a more complex set of specialized services such as consulting services and engineering services.
- GeM aims to replicate the offline market on its online platform to create an open market that bring together sellers across the board ranging from established brands to MSEs, individual suppliers, suppliers of innovative products and services and artisans.
- GeM shall permit any seller, registered in India in accordance with prevalent laws and regulations, manufacturing or marketing genuine goods/ services to sell on GeM.
- The GeM platform shall be a trust based portal where the buyer shall hold the responsibility to ensure value for money and timely payment in any purchase made and the seller shall hold the responsibility to ensure the accuracy and integrity of all information shared, the quality of products and services sold and the timeliness of the delivery.
- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) comes under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Extent of local content
- Class I local suppliers (local content greater than 50 per cent)
- Class II (local content greater than 20 per cent)
- Buyers can now reserve any bid for Class I local suppliers
- For bids below Rs 200 crore, only Class I and Class II, local suppliers will be eligible to bid, with Class I suppliers getting purchase preference.
- The decision has been taken to promote ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
- The government’s attempts to raise the share of manufacturing in the economy through the ‘Make in India’ programme have so far failed to significantly boost investment in new, cutting-edge technology-driven or export-oriented industries and instead only taken the country back to import substitution plants making goods predominantly for domestic consumption.
- To that extent, the drive for self-reliance and greater localisation risks once again eroding Indian industry’s global competitiveness by placing a premium on ‘Indianness’ over quality or cost.
- India is seen as a pharmacy hub of the world and manufacturers drugs which are affordable. But the Indian pharmacy Industry depends on China for about 70% of their requirements of bulk drugs and intermediates.
- For India to wean itself off these dependencies will take time.
Attaining genuine self-reliance is a long and capital-intensive process that would require far greater investment in education, skill-building and infrastructure.For now, policymakers have to tone down any trade-linked rhetoric and give diplomats and military negotiators the room to smoothen ties between India and China.