India’s Ministry of Cooperation launched the onboarding of co-ops onto the country’s Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal in New Delhi this week.
Union minister for home and co-operation, Amit Shah, addressed an in-person and virtual audience on 9 August, where he announced that since GeM has been open to co-operative societies, over 300 have signed up.
GeM was set up in 2016 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to create an open and transparent procurement platform for government buyers, including state ministries, public sector enterprises and local bodies. There are currently around 62,000 government buyers on the platform.
The Ministry announced in June this year that the country’s 854,000 co-ops would be given buyers’ access to the platform, beginning with a selected list that the officials would help to onboard.
At the launch on Tuesday, Mr Shah announced that of the 589 on this list, 289 co-ops have been added to the platform, as well as 45 out of 54 multistate co-ops.
Mr Shah encouraged co-ops to register on GeM, saying that the portal will be “a very useful platform for expansion of this sector”. He added that co-ops will not be given second-class treatment, but those in the sector will have to “initiate change and bring in transparency”.
Mr Shah highlighted three areas where co-ops need to be transparent – elections, recruitment and purchasing – stating that GeM will help to bring transparency to co-ops’ purchasing.
“There is immense potential in the co-operative sector and the GeM portal will be a very useful platform for the expansion of this sector,” said Mr Shah, who advised that co-ops should also start preparing for registration for supply on GeM to increase their market.
Mr Shah also said that under the leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi, the Ministry of Cooperation is working on a number of initiatives to enhance the role of co-ops in the country, including a platform for the export of co-op products, a co-operative university and upcoming changes to the Multistate Cooperative Act.