The government’s public procurement platform Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has weeded out a large number of fake sellers, including hundreds of Chinese companies, after it tightened its vendor validation process over the last three years.
“It’s a huge amount (number of sellers) that we have removed. Categories that were severely impacted include laptops, desktops, servers and medical devices, where people had Chinese footprint. So, we had to remove them (in accordance with finance ministry and industry department norms)” GeM chief executive officer (CEO) Prashant Kumar Singh said.
Singh, however, did not divulge the number of such sellers. He was referring to sellers, which do not meet Government of India norms.
GeM follows a rigorous vendor validation process, which includes a two-step contactless process, where online forms are used to submit and validate essential business documents.
Mobile-application based video assessments are conducted to ascertain the credentials of the applicant. However, this is a one-time verification process. Singh said that GeM is now trying to make the process more user friendly so that genuine companies don’t face difficulties.
“This has also been a pain point. Since this is a very rigorous analysis, people feel that you are being too intrusive. This is the stage where we weed out a lot of fake sellers, particularly after the order of the expenditure department regarding land border sharing countries, wherein certain nations’ products are not to be used on GeM. This has to be a very vigorous exercise. So, we look into the shareholding pattern…to see if there is a land border sharing country and then remove/disqualify them,” Singh told reporters in a briefing.
New service provider
Singh revealed that Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) will become GeM’s new technology partner, and will take control of the existing portal and build a new one from October 3. The portal is currently being managed by a consortium of companies, including Infibeam Avenues, which had a five-year contract.
“It is a well-devised plan so that the transition happens smoothly. We have different stages in that. Now, we have reached the stage where TCS will take over the old portal, while simultaneously developing a new portal,” he said.
GeM’s revamped instant-credit disbursal initiative — GeM SAHAY 2.0 — will be made available for all businesses instead of only sole proprietorships. It will be launched soon and is expected to see greater participation from banks.
Banking and finance partners such as AU Small Finance Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Lendingkart and Tata Capital, among others, are already on board. The loan coverage will be up to Rs 10 lakh and the loan will be approved in 10 minutes.
Through the GeM SAHAY initiative, all sellers will be able to get collateral-free loans at the point of acceptance of an order at competitive interest rates. It will provide the working capital required to complete an order. Till now, the initiative was limited to sole proprietorships. Business Standard