New Delhi: The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a unified payments interface-type protocol, will help small retailers survive the onslaught of large tech-based e-commerce companies, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday. ONDC is an initiative of the ministry to help small retailers expand their business and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants. It aims to build an open, interoperable network on which buyers and sellers can transact without needing to be present on the same platform.
It offers small retailers an opportunity to provide their services, and goods to buyers across the country through an e-commerce system, where buyers will be able to purchase the products, which are sold on any platform.
“ONDC will help our small retail survive the onslaught of large tech-based e-commerce companies,” Goyal said here at an event on the retail sector. He said that the effort is to encourage small companies, and startups to integrate into the e-commerce ecosystem.
“Like UPI democratised payment systems, ONDC will democratise benefits of e-commerce,” he added. He also said that the consumer industry in India, and FMCGs have been victims of indiscriminate low-quality imports because of which people have suffered. Without naming China, he said India’s imports from one geography led to a significant increase in trade deficit between 2004-14 and broke the back of Indian manufacturing.
“When we are doing our free trade negotiations, the focus is on opportunities that India offers,” Goyal said adding that the government has focused over the last few years to bring back manufacturing into India again.
He added that the government has been able to stem the fall of manufacturing, and now “we have to work to take it to greater heights.”
Consumers will be equally responsible for making this happen, he said.
On promoting the manufacturing of high-quality goods, he said the government is working to introduce quality standards in a big way to domestic manufacturing stand against irrational competition, increase the scale of production and become more competitive.
“Each consumer must commit to good quality, sustainable, indigenous products. Must promote message of respect for Indian products and opportunities that consumers offer,” he said.
Goyal said that the government, over the next two or three years, hoped to significantly ramp up focus on quality by bringing in reasonably strict and compulsory but practical quality standards on many more products so that Indian manufacturing is able to withstand irrational competition, increase the scale of production and become more competitive.
The minister said that as long as “we do not recognise” the importance of quality in our country, “we will not” be able to stop this influx of low-quality products.
“Towards that end, we in the government are working to introduce quality standards in a much bigger way. We have now almost four times the number of quality control orders implemented in the last few years than what we had 10 years ago,” he said.
Goyal also called for the creation and strengthening of a virtuous circle with massive amounts of investment and focus both on the public sector and the private sector to create the necessary building blocks or infrastructure to help the Indian economy grow rapidly.
“I think we lost out by allowing a lot of indiscriminate, low quality, low-cost goods coming into the country,” he added.
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