Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s initiative, Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), to aid small retailers and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants will be opened for the public in Bengaluru from Friday as a part of its beta testing process.
“Bengaluru consumers to get a whole new shopping experience! Beta testing of the Govt’s revolutionary Open Network For Digital Commerce to begin from tomorrow. It is democratic, cost-effective and empowers buyers and small businesses,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.
The aim is to be in over 100 cities and have several thousand sellers onboarded on the platform, ONDC’s Chief Business Officer, Shireesh Joshi had told FEAspire earlier (erstwhile Financial Express Online) in July this year.
Sellers can’t onboard the ONDC network directly but have to access it through seller platforms. Joshi also told FEAspire that more buyer, seller and logistics players are building their own apps to integrate with ONDC and will be live on the platform soon.
ONDC is a network based on open protocol that will enable buyers and sellers on different applications to transact with each other. An initiative by the Government of India, ONDC wants to be for retail what QR code is for payments.
The pilot phase of the ONDC network was launched in April by the ministry, in five cities such as Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore.
The government has reportedly taken this initiative to curb the dominance of two large multinational e-commerce players, which control more than half of the country’s e-commerce trading.
Earlier this year, public and private sector banks had picked up stakes in ONDC such as State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, IDFC First Bank and ICICI Bank amongst others.