May 10, 2021
Oxygen cylinders and concentrators are the medical supplies in greatest demand in 2021.
In 2020, protective equipment, biohazard bags, and disinfectants were added to the GeM’s inventory.
The portal currently has 17,88,490 registered sellers and documented transactions worth US$ 15bn (Rs 1,14,270 crore).
Technological innovation through AI, ML and the scaling up of the eVIN platform has aided India’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
The Indian Government’s e-Marketplace which was established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2016 now includes provisions for emergency medical supplies to mitigate the pandemic. The public procurement portal which customarily lists end-to-end workplace amenities, logistical provisions, analytics, transportation facilities, and webcasting for government entities has been expanded to include oxygen cylinders and concentrators for procurement. In a PTI story dated May 10th 2021, Prashant Kumar Singh, CEO of the Government e-Marketplace was quoted as saying ” Starting in March 2020, GeM has taken a number of urgent and targeted measures to ease the procurement journey for Covid-19 related goods and services. This includes the quick creation of several Covid- 19 specific categories in the marketplace” In March 2020, the GeM inventory was expanded to include disinfectants, biohazard bags, and a variety of protective equipment. An estimate by the Press Information Bureau reveals that the GeM portal has registered 17,88,490 sellers till date with transactions worth US$ 15 bn having taken place.
The disruption brought about by COVID-19 in the healthcare and pharmaceutical supply chain is being bridged through innovations by startups as well as experts who work closely with the Government of India. The CoWin platform is an upgrade of the existing Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) technology that is used in app format to monitor vaccine temperatures and inventory by the representatives of select Indian states. Smart technologies like AI, ML, and blockchain are being employed by startups to enhance the current scope of inventory management, logistics and R&D. CrediWatch has been recognized for its operations in verifying the authenticity of COVID resource suppliers in India whereas Bizongo specializes in providing PPE kit in auto-replenishment mode to the B2B procurement ecosystem. A combination of innovative solutions and the scaling of existing technologies, as demonstrated by the above, is a valuable asset to national efforts against the pandemic.