Chhattisgarh government tenders complete, GeM portal restarts

The Chhattisgarh government has decided to allow procurement of goods and services through the Centre’s e-Market (GeM) portal, reversing the previous Congress’s practice of offering these goods and services through the state government’s own e-portal.

In 2016, the then BJP government led by Raman Singh asked all its departments to procure goods and services through the GeM portal, soon after it was launched by the central government.

But in 2019, after the Congress defeated the BJP and Bhupesh Baghel took charge as Chief Minister, the Chhattisgarh government launched its own single-window e-portal E-Marketing Network of Chhattisgarh (e-ManeC). And with that, the Baghel government had done away with the practice of purchasing items through the Centre’s portal.

But on Tuesday that decision was reversed.

The Vishnu Deo Sai cabinet on Tuesday decided to amend the Chhattisgarh government’s shop purchase rules, 2002 (as revised in 2022).

“Now, all departments of the state government will procure materials, goods and services available on the GeM website of the Government of India as per the prescribed procedures,” a state government spokesperson said.

Any additional requirements would require approval from the Finance Ministry, he said, adding that the previous government had banned procurement through the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, leading to greater procurement challenges, poorer quality and increased allegations of corruption.

“This move will ensure a transparent process for procurement of government materials, which is another step towards good governance by the Vishnu Deo Sai government,” the spokesperson said.

The state cabinet has decided to cancel existing tariff contracts by the end of this month to prevent corruption. According to officials who have worked with the tariff contract system, the practice has limited competitive bidding.

It resulted in the monopoly of the company that had secured the contract, they said. Many of the sellers were not manufacturers, but continued to supply items under the contract by obtaining items from other sources.

According to the portal’s website, 44,245 orders worth approximately Rs 3,442.074 crore were processed through the eManeC portal.

The forest department topped the list in placing orders, followed by education and the panchayat and rural development department.

However, some of the suppliers who had signed up for the tariff contract system alleged that local manufacturers were not taken into account when purchasing through the GeM portal.

However, the officials claimed that the GeM portal contains clauses to protect the interests of local manufacturers and suppliers.

First print: Jul 11, 2024 | 01:00 AM IST