Context: The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has made it mandatory for the sellers to disclose the country of origin on the products they wish to sell over the platform.
More on News:
- The move has been taken in the backdrop of rising agitation against Chinese goods and for boosting the Make in India campaign.
- At $ 70.32 billion in 2018-19 and $ 62.38 billion between April 2019 and February 2020, China accounts for the highest proportion of goods imported into India.
- It is also in sync with the slogan of ‘Vocal for Local’, given by the PM under Atmanirbhar Abhiyan, which intends to promote self-reliance by boosting the use of locally produced goods.
- The disclosure about the country of origin is for both - new and old sellers. The product will be removed from the platform upon failure of disclosure.
- Along with the country of origin, the local content percentage will also be shown.
- Buyers can use ‘Make in India’ filter and bid only for Class 1 manufacturers (Products having more than 50% local content)
- For the bids lower than Rs. 200 crores, only Class 1 and Class 2 (More than 20% Local Content) manufacturers are eligible to bid.
The utility of GeM:
- Since its origin, the portal is continuously working towards the promotion of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- It has facilitated the entry of small local sellers in Public Procurement while implementing MSE Purchase Preference Policies of the Government in the true sense.
- It has enabled quick, efficient, transparent and cost-effective procurement, especially in the current scenario of COVID pandemic when products are urgently required by Government organizations.
Concerns behind the present move:
- Defining ‘Country of Origin’ is very difficult as products are assembled in a country while its components are imported from other places.
- Eg - iPhone is assembled in China while its components are provided by U.S, South Korea Japan and Taiwan.
- It portrays India as a Protectionist Country which might undermine the benefits of free trade in the near future.
- Further, a Price rise might be observed if cheap imports are not there leading to inflation in the economy.
- Earlier policy of Import Substitution had not yielded fruitful results for India.
Such a decision will help consumers know their product’s source of origin and gradually help in curbing the huge trade deficit with China. However, a more direct impact may be seen if the proposal to mandate the country of origin for products on private platforms is implemented in the future.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM):
- It is a digital marketplace under Commerce Ministry where common user goods and services can be procured in a paperless and cashless way with minimal human interface.
- It is a dynamic, self-sustaining and user-friendly portal for making procurement by Government officers.
- DGS&D (Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals) with technical support of the National e-Governance Division (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) has developed the GeM portal for procurement of both Products & Services.
- The portal was launched on 9th August 2016 by the Commerce & Industry Minister.
- The GeM 2.0 was launched as a pilot project in August 2016 and its success led to the conceptualisation of GeM 3.0.
- The new portal will offer standardised and enriched catalogue management, powerful search engine, real-time price comparison, template-based Bid, online vendor assessment, multi-cart functionality, demand aggregation etc.
- The purchases through GeM by Government users have been authorized and made mandatory by the Ministry of Finance.
Image Source: India.gov.in