Govt’s e-commerce system, ONDC moves to the next stage

The government’s ambitious open network for digital commerce (ONDC) protocol, an equivalent of UPI, is set to move to the next stage.

Through the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) ONDC has roped in a dozen shareholders for a section 8, or a not-for-profit company, under the Companies Act.

An initial equity of Rs 185 crore have been already committed by these players, and two-three more shareholders are to join before the company is registered.

Separately, the technology team has simulated a transaction for the ONDC protocol, which will be positioned as a tool where e-commerce players, kirana and other brick-and-mortar retailers and logistics players come and sell their products. “We can go live in a few months. We have already done a hackathon, and more are planned next month to help us develop and finetune it,” government sources told TOI.

What seems as a first of its kind plan, the government through organisations such as Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), is hoping to rope in sellers on ONDC to take on the likes of Amazon and Flipkart that have slowly become entrenched in the market, with brick-and-mortar stores complaining of losing out, partly due to what they allege are deep discounts.

The ONDC platform will create new opportunity and remove monopolistic environments says the Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal.

While some of the traders had sought to counter it through an alternate platform, the initiative has not taken off. Unlike other initiatives, government sources said that like UPI, stakeholders can come and build on it just like PhonePe or Google Pay have developed over the last few years.

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