NEW DELHI: The government’s ambitious open network for digital commerce (ONDC) protocol, touted as the equivalent of UPI, is set to move to the next stage.
The department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), which is piloting the initiative, has roped in a dozen shareholders for a section 8, or a not-for-profit company, under the Companies Act. These players have together committed an initial equity of Rs 185 crore, with two-three more shareholders to join before the company is registered.
Separately, the technology team has simulated a transaction for the ONDC protocol, which will be positioned as a tool where e-commerce players, kirana and other brick-and-mortar retailers and logistics players come and sell their products. “We can go live in a few months. We have already done a hackathon, and more are planned next month to help us develop and finetune it,” government sources told TOI.
Through organisations such as Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the government is hoping to rope in sellers on ONDC, which is seen as a first of its kind plan to take on the likes of Amazon and Flipkart that have slowly become entrenched in the market, with brick-and-mortar stores complaining of losing out, partly due to what they allege are deep discounts. Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal had said that ONDC will create new opportunities and remove monopolistic environments.
While some of the traders had sought to counter it through an alternate platform, the initiative has not taken off. Unlike other initiatives, government sources said that like UPI, stakeholders can come and build on it just like PhonePe or Google Pay have developed over the last few years.