The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has launched a Government procurement platform called GeM (Government eMarketplace). The marketplace can be used by any government department for direct online purchases upto Rs 50,000, while purchases above Rs 50,000 will be required to be made through the supplier having the lowest price, meeting the quality, specification and delivery period requirements. An Aadhaar number is required to sign up even as a guest user.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) August 9, 2016
The market lists products like air conditioning and heating equipment, writing instruments, water, projectors, desk and computer supplies etc., and services like security, human resources, housekeeping, spot hiring, regular hiring, chauffeur etc., some of which are listed as ‘coming soon’. However, users cannot access these categories without logging in.
Other features the website claims include ability to compare products, return policies, dynamic pricing, vendor rating system, direct access to all Government departments (for selling) etc. Note that the Indian government’s Ministry of Finance had approved the proposed creation of a ‘Government e-Marketplace’ (GeM) by the Directorate General Supply and Disposal (DGS&D) in May this year.
Agricultural trading facility: Last month, the Government launched an online trading platform for farmers, connecting them to a network of wholesale agricultural markets. To begin with, only 12 different farm commodities would be traded on the online platform, and only 21 regulated wholesale markets (mandis) from eight different states were considered. For context, there are 7,000 mandis in the country.
Marketing site for women entrepreneurs: In March, the Ministry of Women and Child development launched an online marketing portal for women entrepreneurs called Mahila e-haat. The website allows women to list and showcase their products online without any extra costs. It also plans to integrate other ecommerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying.
Other e-governance initiatives:
– Last month, the Income Tax department launched an ‘E-filing’ facility for select category of individuals and firms.
– In March, the Election Commission of India (ECI) launched a set of mobile apps, and other online initiatives related to electoral processes, that can be used by candidates and political parties to submit mandatory filings/statements or request certain permissions.
– In the same month, the ministry of tourism extended e-tourist visas to citizens of 37 more countries. As of February 2016, the government has extended the facility to citizens arriving at Indian airports to at least 150 countries.