The government had urged MSMEs earlier in manufacturing or supply of Covid-related equipment to register on GeM.

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The purchase of Covid-related goods by government departments, ministries etc., from Amazon of online public procurement — GeM increased 48.9 per cent in terms of order value from Rs 345.3 crore in March 2020 after the pandemic broke out to Rs 514.4 crore as on September 28, 2020. While purchase via bidding and reverse auction channels on GeM of medical category products such as Rapid Antigen Test kits, Real-Time PCR Test kits, alcohol-based sanitizers, ICU ventilators etc. had majority share in order value increasing from Rs 40.5 crore in March to Rs 311.1 crore in September so far, the procurement of auxiliary goods including dust bins, steel tables, desktop computers, plastic moulded chair etc. had declined from Rs 136.1 crore via bidding and reverse auction to Rs 74.1 crore, as per the data available on the GeM portal.

Other two buying options including direct purchase and buying from sellers having the lowest price of goods (L1) saw transactions worth Rs 88 crore in September marginally up from Rs 74.2 crore for medical goods even as for auxiliary goods, the purchase via two categories had decreased from Rs 94.5 crore to Rs 41.2 crore during the said period. GeM currently had over 5.51 lakh sellers out of which more than 1.25 lakh are micro and small enterprise (MSE) sellers. In Covid category, GeM had 44,236 sellers while the order count stood at 2,12,177 since March 1, 2020.

Also read: PMEGP: PM Modi’s pet scheme disbursed 83% applications in FY21 so far to set-up new enterprises

The government had enabled the GeM portal for procurement of Covid-related goods, after the pandemic struck back in February in India, to meet with the urgent requirements of ventilators, Covid kits, and masks as the country had initially faced a shortage of such products amid spiralling cases of infections. Moreover, to boost such supplies, the government had also urged MSMEs earlier in manufacturing or supply of such equipment to register on GeM.

The order volume on the GeM portal managed to scale up by 28.2 per cent for medical goods from 13,992 orders in March to 17,947 as on September 28 whereas orders for auxiliary goods saw a significant fall of 44 per cent from 27,932 to 15,484 during the said period. The government had listed 39 medical items such as ventilators, N95 masks, disposable thermometers, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, protective gowns etc and 61 auxiliary items such as soap, chairs, tables, bedsheets, computers, extension boards etc. The government had also asked 18 technology centres or tool rooms for MSMEs to manufacture masks, sanitizers, ventilators etc., the MSME ministry had tweeted back in April.

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