On the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day, which is celebrated every year on 24th April, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated an integrated eGramSwaraj and Government eMarketplace (GeM) portal for public procurement at the Panchayat level.
This year’s National Panchayati Raj Day is special as it marks 30 years of Panchayati Raj in India. It is a defining moment in the history of decentralization of power to the grassroots through the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992.
The eGramSwaraj–GeM Integration is aimed at enabling Panchayats to procure their goods and services through GeM leveraging the eGramSwaraj platform. The integration will encourage Panchayats to adopt digital procurement and payment platforms, and will also benefit local sellers by opening new markets for them. This initiative will give a major boost to the rural economy and entrepreneurship, and will also strengthen the Digital India Program.
Salient features of the e-Gramswaraj – government e-Marketplace integration:
–The existing User base of GeM of nearly 60,000 is envisioned to increase to more than 3 lakhs in a phased manner.
–Bringing transparency in procurement by Panchayats by making the process digital, a major demand raised by Panchayats
–Encouragement of local vendors (Proprietors, Self Help groups, Cooperatives, etc.) to register on GeM as Panchayats procure largely from such vendors. Also, selling online by such vendors can open new markets for them.
–Mitigation of audit objections as procurements would follow General Financial Rules (GFR) by virtue of GeM usage.
–Arbitrary award of contracts shall cease, compliant vendors will receive timely payments,
–Panchayats will have access to doorstep delivery of quality-assured goods at standardized and competitive rates
–Major Capacity building is being taken by MoPR where training has been conducted multiple times at both the Central and State level. GeM has also trained and appointed business facilitators in all States for the handholding of the Panchayat users.
The eGramSwaraj platform was launched on National Panchayati Raj Day in 2020 and was designed to operate as a single-window solution for all day-to-day functioning of Panchayats, from planning to online payments. The platform has almost 100% usage and adoption across the country, with more than 2.3 lakh Gram Panchayats and Traditional Local Bodies using it for online payments.