Quality Council of India sets up team of experts to execute proposed ONDC project

By: |
October 26, 2021 4:40 PM

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has initiated this project, which aims to democratise digital or electronic commerce, moving it from a platform-centric model to an open-network.

quality council of India, ine-member advisory council, including Nandan Nilekani, ONDC gateway, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal TradeDPIIT has initiated this project, which aims to democratise digital or electronic commerce

The Quality Council of India (QCI) has established a team of experts and a number of small and medium enterprises have been on-boarded as volunteers for execution of a proposed project – Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the commerce and industry ministry said on Tuesday.

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has initiated this project, which aims to democratise digital or electronic commerce, moving it from a platform-centric model to an open-network.

As UPI is to the digital payment domain, ONDC is to e-commerce in India. ONDC will enable buyers and sellers to be digitally visible and transact through an open network, no matter what platform/application they use. It will also empower merchants and consumers by breaking silos to form a single network to drive innovation and scale, transforming all businesses from retail goods, food to mobility.

“It has been suggested to establish a private sector led non-profit company. The entity is expected to provide a start-up mindset for a population scale implementation, enabled by a management with a futuristic vision, leadership with a deep understanding of commerce, comfort with cutting edge technology, and missionary outlook to drive change,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that a non-profit company structure removes any incentive for owners to drive for profit maximisation, keep focus on ethical and responsible behaviour while providing for trust, rigorous norms of governance, accountability and transparency.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal reviewed the progress on this initiative.

“QCI has established a team of experts for execution of the project in a mission mode. A number of small and medium enterprises have been on-boarded as volunteers to complement the ONDC team. An ONDC gateway has also been established. About 20 entities covering all network components are at various stages of on-boarding,” it said. The DPIIT has approved a budget of about Rs 10 crore for initial work on the project.

It said that the role of the company would be to develop the network by adopting and building enabling technology and encouraging wide-scale voluntary participation by ecosystem players.

“It would ensure network discipline by establishing a code of conduct and rules of network based on principles of consumer protection, fair trade and regulatory conformity. The entity will also provide foundational services for managing the network like digital infrastructure for the network, common registry, certification of participants and certifying agencies, grievance redressal, etc,” the ministry said.

It will also support SMEs in their digital transformation by developing readymade tools to help existing software applications quickly adapt to the network. Goyal directed that wide participation from the ecosystem should be ensured and the institutional structure should be created in such a manner so as to ensure that the entity conducts itself in an ethical, cooperative, democratic and responsible manner.

He also directed that special efforts must be made to build trust in the ONDC network and elaborate mechanisms must be put in place for dispute resolution. The government has set up a nine-member advisory council, including Nandan Nilekani from Infosys and National Health Authority CEO R S Sharma, on steps required to design and accelerate adoption of ONDC.

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