Government e-Marketplace (GeM), launched in August 2016 by the commerce Ministry is a one-stop portal to facilitate online procurement of Goods & Services which are in common use by various Government Departments / Organizations / PSUs. Its objective is to create an open and transparent procurement platform for government departments.
In the recent Union Budget, the Finance Minister informed that the GeM has clocked the transaction of Rs 40,000 crore. The minister in her 2020-21 Budget speech said that the government aspires to increase the turnover of the GeM portal to Rs 3 lakh crore.
The menace of corruption is the most talked-about issue in India which grapples the sphere of public debate very often. The phenomenon touches every human being from the one living in slums to the person occupying the highest echelons of the State system. Just like the fictional Voldemort, corruption grows at every utterance of it. In the words of Kautilya “Just as it is impossible not to taste the honey that finds itself in the tip of the tongue, so it is impossible for a government assistant not to eat up, at least a bit of King’s revenue.”
On December 25th, 2019, the Minister of State for Public Grievance and Pensions Dr. Jitendra Singh had launched the Good Governance Index on Good Governance Day, which is observed on the birth anniversary of the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The GGI is said to have been “scientifically designed” on various parameters of governance with an emphasis on citizen-centricity.
RTI (Amendment) Act, 2019 had received the President’s assent despite the protests due to certain controversial provisions in the amended Act. This Act seeks to empower the Centre to decide the tenure, salary, allowance and other terms of services of the Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission and also of State Information Commissions. Giving such powers to the Centre undermines the fundamental purpose of this Act – the government’s accountability and transparency.
The Central Government is planning to implement India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA), a concept that promises a single-window digitisation solution for its citizens. This is similar to the Andhra Pradesh Government’s e-Pragiti project that treats the state as an enterprise-of-enterprises. The National e-Governance Division, under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), is entrusted with the mandate to form a division called India Enterprise Architecture (IndEA) to drive the initiative across government ministries, states and other agencies.
The Public Distribution System, India’s landmark food security system, was commenced in 1944 to address the poverty that was affecting the country during that time. It is a vital instrument that ensures the availability of certain essential commodities at an affordable price for the poor. Regardless, this system is often criticized for its inefficiency and corruption. The low-quality food grains from the ration shops are not enough to address the needs of the poor. India has the largest stock of grains in the world besides China. Yet, 21% of the Indian population remains undernourished. The government must address the corruption, inefficiency and low-quality food grains of the PDS for its success.
National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 was recently passed in the Rajya Sabha. This bill is under public scrutiny due to its vague and unclear provisions, underrepresentation of the medical community and for not being student-friendly.
With the end of 16th Lok Sabha, it is time to reflect on how to make this institution more effective. A crucial step would be to review the Anti-Defection Law that made the institution less effective by affecting the independence of MPs/MLAs and removing any incentive for them to research and understand on policies which have the bearing on nation-building and development process.