New Delhi: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry's initiative to help small retailers and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants — Open Network for Digital Commerce or ONDC — is likely to be opened to the public soon, an official said on Friday. Chief Business Officer of Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) Shireesh Joshi said that the initiative is a capability that will unleash waves of innovation.
The ministry in April launched the pilot phase of the open network for digital commerce, a UPI-type protocol, in five cities – Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore. People were allowed to do transactions in these cities.
Joshi said that the work is going on and it is expected to be opened to the public soon.
He was speaking at Saral 2022 Mega E-commerce Summit, organised by Unicommerce here.
In the pilot phase, ONDC had roped in eSamudaay, ERP Player Gofrugal, digital marketing outfit Growth Falcon, and automation and data insights outfit Sellerapp to work with sellers.
As many as 20 organisations of national repute have confirmed investments of Rs 255 crore into ONDC. Lenders such as State Bank of India, UCO Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Bank of Baroda have already committed investments.
The initiative is aimed at curbing the dominance of two large multinational e-commerce players, which control more than half of the country's e-commerce trading, limit access to the market, and give preferential treatment to certain sellers and squeeze supplier margins.
ONDC is a set of standards for voluntary adoption by sellers or logistics providers or payment gateways.
ONDC has received its certificate of incorporation as a private sector-led non-profit company on December 31, 2021.
The government had set up a nine-member advisory council, including Nandan Nilekani from Infosys and National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma, to ascertain the steps required to design and accelerate the adoption of ONDC.
Through this platform, consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service by using any ONDC-compatible application or platform, thus increasing freedom of choice for consumers.