The government e-marketplace (GeM) on Tuesday made it mandatory for sellers to specify the country of origin of the goods and services on its platform, at a time when Chinese products are facing the ire of local traders and customers.
The new rule, aimed at promoting Make In India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat, applies to both existing products and ones that will be added in the future, a statement from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said, adding that failure to do so may result in such products being delisted.
Government ministries and departments, as well as public sector undertakings and other autonomous bodies under the central government, are required to procure goods and services through the GeM portal. The platform currently has 3.95 lakh registered sellers and service providers across 6,785 product and service categories.
The marketplace, which classifies sellers based on the percentage of local content criteria they meet, has specified that only Class I and Class II sellers can bid for orders less than Rs 200 crore. By definition, sellers whose stock has more than 50% local products or services are classified under Class I, while those with more than 20% local sourcing come under Class II.
Buyers can also restrict bids for Class I sellers or suppliers and view the local content percentage for all items on the marketplace.
Alleging that most online customer-facing marketplaces sell goods sourced from China, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to Piyush Goyal, the minister of commerce and industry, asking the government to make it mandatory for all ecommerce players to display the country of origin on products listed on their websites. The trader body said that it had made a similar recommendation on June 15 and would continue to pursue the same.