Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal reviews progress of Open Network for Digital Commerce
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal has reviewed the progress on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and International Trade (DPIIT) and was apprised about the significant progress made for the project.
The meeting was attended by Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT and members of the Advisory Council of ONDC including RS Sharma, CEO, NHA; Adi lZainulbhai, Chairman, QCI; Dilip Asbe, MD and CEO, NPCI; Suresh Sethi, MD and CEO, NSDL-e Gov; Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI; Arvind Gupta, Founder, MyGov; and Anjali Bansal of Avaana Capital.
Quality Council of India (QCI) has established a team of experts for the execution of the project in a mission mode. A number of small and medium enterprises have been onboarded as volunteers to complement the ONDC team. An ONDC gateway has also been established and about 20 entities covering all network components are at various stages of onboarding. DPIIT has approved a budget of approximately Rs 10 crore for initial work on the project.
The ONDC project is patterned around the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) project. The UPI project allows people to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms on which they are registered. Similarly, the government wants to ensure that buyers and sellers of goods in the ecommerce market can transact regardless of the platforms on which they are registered. Hence, under the ONDC, a buyer registered on any ecommerce platform may directly purchase goods from a seller who sells on any other ecommerce platform.
Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal
Goyal expressed satisfaction with the progress made and desired to compress timelines for making this network a reality soon. He 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 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.
It has been suggested to establish a private sector-led non-profit company. The entity is expected to provide a startup 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. A non-profit company structure removes any incentive for owners to drive for profit maximization, keep the focus on ethical and responsible behaviour while providing for trust, rigorous norms of governance, accountability and transparency.
The role of the entity would be to develop the network by adopting, 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 the 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 entity will develop and operate reference applications for buyers, sellers and gateway for market activation and priming the network along with partner entities. It will also support SMEs in their digital transformation by developing readymade tools to help existing software applications quickly adapt to the network.
The meeting was also attended by a number of prospective promoters including senior representatives from State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, NABARD, SIDBI, National Payments Corporation of India, NSDL, CDSL, NSE and BSE.