New Delhi: Soon personnel from the government ministries, departments, agencies and public sector units will be able to book taxis for official purposes from cab aggregator Uber as the company has partnered with public procurement portal GeM to provide the service.
"It will be a kind of corporate service. At present, we have started the service on a pilot basis and gradually it will be available for all the government ministers, departments, agencies and public sector units (PSUs). We are planning to go phase by phase," an official said. The company would provide the service at a fixed price with zero cancellation charges and no surge pricing.
The company has registered at the portal of government e-marketplace (GeM), which was launched in 2016 by the commerce ministry for buying goods and services by central ministries and departments with a view to bringing transparency in government procurement.
There is a growing demand for taxi services in the government and all the departments spend huge amounts on this service, but now by using this service they would be able to save a good amount. Cab and taxi services are the second highest category of services at the GeM portal, which are in demand by the government department and ministries.
Explaining further, the official said that an authorised person in each ministry or department can add riders/officials, who would be allowed to book the service through the Uber app from their mobiles.
"The authorised official can add or delete the name of riders as per the requirements. After availing the service, the bill will directly go to the department," the official added. It will be a cashless/cardless ride of the officials; additional vehicle categories for government riders have been added -- GeM Yatraa Hatch, GeM Yatraa Sedan; and there will be hourly rental for multiple-stops.
When contacted, a company official confirmed the partnership. GeM has over 63,000 government buyer organisations, over 62 lakh sellers and service providers offering a wide range of products and services.
Currently, government departments, ministries, public sector units, state governments, and central armed police forces are allowed to carry out transactions through this portal. The portal provides a wide range of products from office stationery to vehicles.
Automobiles, computers and office furniture are some of the major product categories. Services, including transportation, logistics, waste management, web casting and analytical, are also listed on the portal.
Among central government ministries, the power ministry was the top buyer in 2022-23 from the platform. The ministry procured goods and services worth Rs 30,572.9 crore. It was followed by the defence ministry (Rs 28,741.2 crore), Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (Rs 28,157.2 crore), steel ministry (Rs 12,527.3 crore), and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Rs 7,158.3 crore).
South Korea's KONEPS is the largest such platform in the world. Currently, GeM stands at the third position after Singapore's GeBIZ.