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Govt Gives Fillip to its E-Commerce Platform GeM, Entrepreneurs Hail the Decision Union Minister Suresh Prabhu assured further support in order to facilitate smooth access to the platform, resolving all impending issues faced by the businessmen

By Kartik Sood

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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In a bid to bolster startups and businessmen in rural and difficult reaches of the country, the ministry of commerce and industries has asked them to list their products and services on its e-commerce website Government e-Marketplace (GeM).

Union Minister Suresh Prabhu assured further support in order to facilitate smooth access to the platform, resolving all impending issues faced by the businessmen.

The entrepreneurs, especially startup owners, wishing to sell their products on government website need to know these things:

What is Gem?
Developed in 2016, GeM is an online platform from where the government departments can procure goods and services. The buyers include several departments of the Centre, State, Universities and government's autonomous bodies. Any independent vendor willing to enter into business with the government can register themselves to sell on GeM.

Why was it set up?
GeM has been developed to introduce transparency, efficiency and speedy government procurements. The platform records of buying, selling, product and transaction value are public.

How does it work?
A variety of products and services are listed on the platform by the registered sellers. Sellers register by providing their Aadhar details and paying a fee, which serves as the revenue for the platform. The buyers can choose from different sellers and quote their requirement.

How to sell products on GeM?
A vendor has to register on GeM and list their products under a specific category. Thereafter, prospective government buyers place an order. Once the order is delivered, the buyer shall inspect the product for its conformity with specifications and issue acceptance, a post which the payment is processed.

Business so far:
A total of 1,015,519 worth INR 14,959 crore have been placed on GeM portal from August 9, 2016, to December 2, 2018, as per the government records.

Suresh Prabhu, on the sidelines of 2018 National Entrepreneurship Awards, here in Delhi, said, "The definition of entrepreneurship is constantly evolving and with a change in fixed tenure jobs, the nature of the working environment is changing with more people creating their job space versus joining a certain industry. There are ample opportunities for our youth to be gainfully engaged in launching start-up initiatives in the country. "

He added: "The change in the market environment is no more a challenge, but has become an opportunity for many. The government of India's initiatives like Mudra Yojana, Start-Up India, the GeM portal are giving the best and most conducive environment to our young entrepreneurs."

Jaydeep Mandal of Mumbai-based Aakar Innovations Pvt. Ltd lauded the decision of the Government. He says, "Registration process is very tedious. My product is unique, and that's why I had to face hurdles to register the product. However, it's a good move. Startups would finally get a share of the government procurement."

Interestingly, as per the recent media reports, only five State departments have enrolled so far with the GeM portal and out of those five, only two government arms have so far made any purchase through the portal. GeM has nearly 1.43 lakh sellers and service providers, offering more than 4.86 lakh products and services. Earlier, the Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy, a part of the Commerce Ministry announced the ranking of states and union territories (UTs) on the basis of measures being taken by them to promote startups. While Gujarat topped the list, the other top performers were Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and Rajasthan.

The government has also taken steps to preserve the interests of small and medium business enterprises, tightening the noose on e-commerce players like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal. In retaliation, the e-commerce players have formed a united front collaborating with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to uplift the restrictions.

Kartik Sood

Former Feature Writer

A former sports scribe-turned-business journo, I have a knack for numbers. I like to document the transition in this digital era where cutting-edge technology defines the success of an enterprise. I like to weave every business story in a manner that reproduces flair of the entrepreneur. Happy reading....

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