Govt plans to launch new version of GeM app that supports UPI

New Delhi: The government is planning to launch a revamped version of government e-marketplace (GeM) app in the next six months that will support Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based transactions. The move is aimed at offering a larger choice of payment options, especially for government buyers who carry out small-value transactions, said a senior official from GeM.

GeM is an end-to-end procurement system developed by the Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) for purchase of goods and services of common use by government buyers.

The GeM platform was launched on 9 August last year on pilot basis to ensure greater transparency. The government has announced that in the next six months, the platform, which is still in the pilot phase, will be launched officially with more categories of products and services, enhanced logistics model, better grading system and integration of artificial intelligence and analytics.

UPI is a payment system launched by National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) which facilitates instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on the mobile platform.

UPI-based payment solution for the GeM app will be useful for government buyers like local panchayats because the value of orders from them is usually small, said the government official, who asked not to be identified.

Orders from local panchayats include goods like chalk and blackboard in small quantities, among others.

“We have stopped updating the existing version of the mobile app for some time now. The focus is to scale up the existing online portal. Along with the official launch of the platform after the completion of the pilot phase, we will introduce the revamped mobile version,” said the official.

The GeM app, which is available for Android phone users, was last updated in October 2016.

“Since we have already integrated with many banks and are in talks with a number of other banks, it will be easier for us to integrate with the UPI gateway,” said the official.

Earlier this month, GeM had tied up with Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank and State Bank of India (SBI) for facilitating e-payments on its portal. Only online payments are allowed on GeM portal.

Transactions using UPI rose to a record 11.4 million in July, a five-fold increase since December, according to a statement from NPCI. UPI was launched in August 2016 with 21 banks, and is currently being offered by about 53 banks.

So far, 23,316 sellers are registered with the portal to sell 97,935 products.