Offline Vs Online Purchases: GeM Impact on NITR
With the objective of curbing corruption and augmenting transparency in the system, GeM (Government e-Market) was launched by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, to bring reformation in the procedure and scheme adopted for procurement of goods and services by various departments, institutes, universities and other bodies under the Government of India(GOI). The GeM portal was launched on 9th August 2016 and it is now compulsory for all the government bodies to procure goods from the GeM as per the General Financial Rules (GFR) 2017. The buyers and sellers have to register themselves on the GeM website by providing valid identification proofs like Aadhar card, PAN card, etc.
As NIT Rourkela is a centrally funded institute, it has to follow the same set of rules for obtaining products as mentioned by the GOI. So, our institute has implemented the rule of making purchases through the GeM from 1st July 2017 and the HODs of all the departments are authorized to register themselves on the website for the procurement of required goods. The institute has provided Log In IDs to the HODs and some faculties who have undertaken projects as they require equipment for carrying out research works.
Recently, the members of the Department of Purchase and Works conducted a workshop on the 21st and 22nd of October for the faculty members, officers and other non-teaching staffs where Dr. A.B Singh, Faculty Associate from National Institute of Financial Management(NIFM), Faridabad explained on all aspects of the GeM. Initially, he gave an introduction regarding Government e-Marketplace, then he proceeded towards the procedure for making purchases through the GeM and finally, he gave a demonstration of purchasing goods online.
However, many departments, as well as clubs such as the ASME, BAJA, and SAE, have been facing a lot of issues while ordering products because of the compulsion in the implementation of the rule as well the majority of the junta being unaware of the procedures to be followed to make purchases from the GeM. Hence, Team Monday Morning approached Mr Pradeep Kumar Panda, Assistant Registrar (Purchase and Works) to get the gist of this recently implemented rule.
MM: Is it true that according to the new rule that has been implemented, each and every order has to be made through the GeM ?
PKP: Yes, since we are an institute of national importance and are being funded by the GOI, it’s mandatory for us to stick with its rules which are being implemented at the top level of the hierarchy. We are ensuring that purchase, as much as possible, is made through the GeM. However, since the process of implementing the rule is still in the nascent stage, according to the circumstances, we might allow purchase from sources other than the GeM also. But that is purely exceptional and the approval has to be taken from the competent authorities such as the Director or the Registrar.
MM: A circular was suddenly passed among the faculty, departments and the clubs to purchase all the products only through the GeM or else it won’t be sanctioned. However, hardly any faculty member knows the exact procedure of buying goods through the GeM. So, what has been done to ensure that this process is carried out conveniently?
PKP: Changes will always be there and we all must try to learn. Moreover, a Workshop-cum-Training session was conducted on 22 October 2017 and 23 October 2017 for the teaching staff and non-teaching staff of the institute respectively, to introduce the nuances of this facility called the GeM and to explain as to how to conveniently order products from the GeM. But most of the professors were busy and had some other appointments and the turnout was only around 30-35. Procuring products through the GeM is not that difficult and to make things clear, we are organizing workshops and training programs; but in the end, it’s the responsibility of all the professors to come together and join those workshops.
MM: What about those goods that are not available on the GeM and are required urgently? How does one procure such goods?
PKP: If the case is a really urgent one, then the Declaration Letter has to be given by the authority concerned and accordingly, procurement of the goods can happen by the process that earlier used to take place.
MM: What if the items are not available at a reasonable price and quality on the GeM, but are available in good quality or better price in other markets?
PKP: Well, the GOI has verified the fact that the goods available on the GeM are the best according to their corresponding prices and their quality. The quality of the products is certified by the GOI; until and unless they are certified, those sellers can’t register themselves on the GeM. So, the GOI gives the guarantee on the quality as well as the price of the products that have been put up on the GeM website.
MM: Is there some limited budget within which one can make a purchase through the GeM?
PKP: Any amount of goods worth any amount of money can be purchased from the GeM. There is no such constraint on that aspect. But let me make it clear that not everybody is allowed to make orders through the GeM. Only the HODs of all the departments, PIs (Principal Investigators) in case of Projects, the President and the Vice President of the SAC have been given login ids to make the purchase through the GeM.
MM: What about the central gymnasiums and the hall gyms? Whom should they approach in case they have to buy equipment?
PKP: They have to directly talk to the Vice President of the Games and Sports Society and their purchase shall be made through the GeM. If in case the gym equipment is not available on the GeM website, they have to put the tender on the Central Public Portal (CPP) showing the products that they require and their orders can be placed from other dealers.
Team MM hereby presented a brief analysis of the rules that have to be followed, its implications on the NITR-junta and the current status of its implementation. This initiative of procuring goods through the GeM has been made to curb corruption and black money and to maintain transparency in the system. Though there are glitches here and there, efforts have been made to make this process of the purchasing products simple and convenient in not-so-distant future!