Technology for MSMEs: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Secretary Anurag Jain has said the government’s open e-commerce initiative Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will democratize e-commerce and enable millions of small traders to take advantage of opportunities thrown up by e-commerce. The open network will also empower consumers by offering more choice, Jain said at the inauguration of the ONDC office in Delhi on Friday, according to a statement by the commerce ministry.
He emphasised that India has taken the path of building public digital infrastructure for serving its citizens and UPI, Jan Dhan, Aadhar, CoWin and ULIP are examples of this approach. “ONDC is a similar initiative with tremendous potential. We are doing something which has not been done anywhere else in the world.”
ONDC currently has multiple participants including sellers such as Bizom, Digiit, Enstore, eSamudaay, Growth Falcons etc., buyers including Craftsvilla, Paytm, IDFC, Kotak, etc., Delhivery, Dunzo, Grab, LoadShare, Shiprocket as logistics players. When a shopper searches for a product on any of the buyers’ apps such as Paytm, the ONDC platform connects him/her to listed sellers that show up merchants from where the shopper can purchase the product.
According to a commerce ministry statement in June this year, the government had launched ONDC’s pilot project in five designated cities Bengaluru, New Delhi, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore in grocery and food and beverages segments on April 29 this year. The pilot was essentially the alpha launch of the project. In September, the network was beta launched in Bengaluru.
ONDC, in a statement on December 13, said noted the project “is gearing up for the next phase of testing” ahead of the “planned national launch for the first quarter of 2023.” Towards this, ONDC is looking to increase its merchant count from over 700 currently to 20,000 across India in fashion, home & kitchen (including décor), electronics, beauty and personal products.
For national push, ONDC said it has designed an incentive programme for first, seller network participants to incentivise seller onboarding; second; sellers themselves to incentivise transactions including but not limited to conversion of offline customers to online sales; and third, buyer network participants to incentivise demand generation on the network.