Government e-market platform Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has started the process of shutting down Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), over 100-year-old government procurement arm, in this fiscal.
Earlier, the Union Cabinet in April 2017 had ordered the DGS&D to wind up operations by October 2017. Now the public procurement of goods and services will be managed by the Government’s e-market platform (GeM).
Before closing, the Commerce Ministry will decide upon the issues concerning manpower, land and office spaces of the directorate, which are present all over the country.
Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D)
DGS&D has its origin in the India Stores Department which was established in London for purchase of imported stores in 1860. In 1922, India Stores Department was established in India to arrange purchases for Government Civil Departments and Military Purchases.
In 1951, the set-up of Purchase and Inspection was reorganised and DGS&D was constituted, in its present form, to handle all government purchases centrally. A minor restructuring was undertaken in 1974 to allow defence and railways to procure items meant for their exclusive use.
The directorate has two professional service cadres — Indian Supply Service (ISS) and Indian Inspection Service (IIS). Currently, the directorate has four regional offices including Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai. It has 12 Purchase Directorates (Commodity-wise) at its headquater in New Delhi. Besides, there are 20 offices and the staff strength is over 1,200.
Need for shutting down DGS&D
The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry had launched GeM (Government’s e-market platform) to bring greater transparency and efficiency in public procurement. At present, the Union and state governments procure goods and services worth over Rs. 5 lakh crore annually. Currently, over 20,000 sellers are registered on this GeM portal for selling over 50,000 products. The GeM portal has eliminated human interface in the procurement process such as order placement, vendor registration and payment processing to a great extent.