Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is reportedly acquiring 9-10 per cent stake in Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the government’s pet project to develop e-commerce in India. An exclusive report by The Economic Times (ET) stated the company is contemplating to invest Rs 10 crore in ONDC.
According to ET, the approvals were already in place and the deal is set to be finalised in the next 10 days. Moreover, India’s depository services firm National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and public sector bank Bank of India are also picking up stakes in ONDC. While ONDC chief executive Thampy Koshy declined to comment on this, sources confirmed the matter to ET who were not named in the report.
Both organisations are already working very closely and NPCI becoming a stakeholder will further strengthen that, said a person aware of the plans, adding: “It (the deal) is not done to make investment gains though.”
The government’s digital commerce platform to weaken rival foreign platforms like Flipkart and Amazon India in the local market is already working closely with NPCI. In fact, the chief executive of NPCI Dilip Asbe is a member of ONDC’s advisory council.
A source close to the digital payment service provider told ET that the deal does not intend to make profits, but is to strengthen the objective of taking product and services to the grassroot and boost small businesses.
ONDC will reportedly have 20 stakeholders out of which the formalities for 17 entities have been completed by March. Remaining three, including NPCI, will be secured in the next 10 days. The finalised stakeholders include private and public sector banks like Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank.
ONDC has commenced B2B e-commerce transactions on the network despite a public launch due in September, reported ET. The B2B business on the network will begin with two start-ups, a trade platform Rapidor and retail tech firm Signcatch.
Earlier this month, US-based technology corporation Microsoft became the first major multinational company to join ONDC platform. The tech giant plans to launch a shopping app for Indian consumers along with their social circle, harnessing the ONDC network to discover the best pricing among small businesses, reported FE Aspire (erstwhile Financial Express Online).