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Congress alleges corruption in government portal

The Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal offers a variety of products and services

Amit Agnihotri  |  New Delhi 

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The has alleged a scam in state-owned portal Government e-Marketplace (GeM) and said the instance of corruption has been flagged by a Union minister and eight lawmakers in a ommunication to Commerce Minister

According to spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, Minister of State for Health and eight lawmakers including Kaushal Kishore, Ajay Nishad, Harish Dwivedi and Arjun Lal Meena have in separate letters to the commerce minister alleged that the GeM has massive irregularities and runs a scam.

The has released copies of the letters.

Surjewala said the rates at which deals were made on the GeM portal were much higher than those on private online portals like Snapdeal and Amazon.

“When we buy from the GeM portal, the rates are more than rate contract … the government bears a loss of crores of rupees,” said Surjewala.

For instance, model H8CDK, a small office paper shredder, purchased by the office of the regional director, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, Delhi, showed a price of Rs 7,638 on the GeM while it was available on the Snapdeal portal at Rs 5,695.

Similarly, a toner cartridge, HP8A model CE278A, purchased by the ministry of statistics was bought at Rs 3,142 from the GeM but was available on Snapdeal for Rs 2,199. The cited other examples of rate differentials in purchases made by various state governments on the GeM portal.

A comparison of prices between the government-owned portal and the private one on April 3 between noon and 2 pm showed that the Sony 32-inch LED Bravia KLV TV model 32R302D listed on the GeM for Rs 30,500 was available on Amazon for Rs 23,000.

In his letter dated March 2, 2017, Kulaste urged the commerce minister to consider a complaint received from Anuj Pandep, general manager, sales, HCL Infosystems Ltd, regarding discontinuation of rate contracts by the director general of supply and disposal (DGS&D) against the General Financial Rules and procurement manual of the finance ministry.  

According to the GeM portal, the DGS&D is tasked primarily with fixing rate contracts (RC) for common user items required by government organisations through an online e-procurement portal. Currently, it is being managed by two organised Group ‘A’ Services, namely the Indian Supply Service and Indian Inspection Service. 

DGS&D Rate Contracts are used by central government ministries and departments, public sector undertakings and state governments.

The GeM portal, which offers a variety of products and services, mentions 2,251 buyers, 5,377 sellers and 167 service providers listed with it.