Governance and Policies

E-commerce has traditionally operated in the platform-model. In this model one central entity - the platform - controls the entire value chain - i.e. customer acquisition, managing buyer-experience, vendor onboarding, order-flow management, fulfilment and logistics, payment collection, grievance redressal etc. The platform therefore dictates the rules of engagement for buyers, sellers and all other entities involved in any given transaction. Consequently, the buyer, seller and all ancillary services (logistics services providers, payment aggregators etc.) have a contractual relationship with the central platform.

In contrast, the ONDC Network is decentralised, and many of the functions involved in e-commerce are unbundled. Since there is no central platform, the legal relationships between participants on the network, and buyers and sellers are slightly more complex than in the platform model. The graphic below shows a simplified illustration of the relationship between various participants transacting through the ONDC Network.

How are transactions governed on the ONDC Network?

  • In any individual sale, the Buyer and Seller are bound by the terms of the sale, and the title for the goods is transferred from Seller to Buyer through the invoice.
  • The Buyer has a persistent legal relationship with the Buyer App, and the Seller has a persistent relationship with the Seller App.
  • There is no direct relationship between a Buyer and Seller App, or Seller and Buyer App.
  • The Buyer App and Seller App have a persistent legal relationship only with ONDC, through the Network Participant Agreement and ONDC Network Policy.
  • The Buyer App and Seller App have no persistent legal relationship either. A legal relationship is created between them, on-the-fly through the Transaction-level Contract, to facilitate a transaction between a Buyer and Seller. ONDC will publish the details of the Transaction-level Contract on the website soon.

“ONDC Network Policy” refers to the compilation of all the rules, created by ONDC, which govern the operations of the ONDC Network. The ONDC Network Policy, together with the ONDC Network Participant Agreement and the Transactional Documents (viz. the transaction-level contract executed through the ONDC Protocol), constitute the terms of any given transaction on the ONDC Network.

Chapters of the ONDC Network Policy

As stated before, the ONDC Network Policy has been created and arranged thematically by Chapters that cover the specific aspects of the ONDC Network and transactions conducted through it. We have given, below, a broad overview of the individual chapters, along with the link to the respective policy documents

 This page contains the glossary of all the terms and their respective definitions used throughout the ONDC Network Policies

ONDC Network Policy: Consolidated Chapters

This page contains all the chapters of the ONDC Network Policies to refer to in one single document

The Onboarding Policy gives information to a prospective Network Participant how to join the Network. It specifies the eligibility conditions for Network Participants to join and operate on the Network, as well as the actual process and compliance requirements to join the Network. The requirements have been broadly categorised based on the functional role (Seller Side Apps, Buyer Side Apps or Gateways) a Network Participant intends to play on the Network.

This Chapter delineates the roles and responsibilities of the different categories of Network Participants viz. - Buyer Nodes, Marketplace Seller Nodes, Inventory Seller Nodes and Gateways. This Chapter specifies how Network Participants need to align with existing laws and regulations, and prescribes how some of the processes and systems the Network Participants need to set up to encourage healthy competition and to ensure entities participating in the Network are treated in a non-discriminatory manner.

The Chapter on Commercial Model defines the commission structure and various commercial components for a transaction on the Network. The Chapter describes the flow for the completion of an order, the processing of cancellation and refunds and how payment and settlements will take place on the Network.

Code of Conduct and Ethics prescribes general rules regarding good behaviour that are essential for the health and integrity of the ONDC Network. This includes forbidding Network Participants from engaging in bribery, mandating them to protect confidential information, avoiding conflicts of interest, and ensuring Network Participants or their affiliates do not engage in behaviour that can harm other Network Participants or the ONDC Network.

The Chapter on Branding Guidelines lays down the terms and conditions for the use of ONDC’s logo, trade name and trademarks by Network Participants and other related entities. The Branding Guidelines specify how and for what purpose the aforementioned intellectual property may be used, and also prescribes the specifications to be followed to use it.

The Chapter on Issue and Grievance Management lays down the mechanisms for Network Participants to manage and resolve grievances filed against them by Buyers, Sellers and other Network Participants. This Chapter also describes the process for escalation of unresolved grievances and ONDC’s Online Dispute Resolution mechanism.

This Chapter lays down the obligations of Network Participants with respect to protection of private and personal information.

This Chapter lays down a framework for audits and certifications that will allow ONDC to ensure that Network Participants comply with all prescribed technical standards, the Network Policy and any operational parameters that may be prescribed. It also contains provisions for ONDC to conduct audits on the basis of reports of malfeasance, court orders or other triggers.

Chapter 9: Governance and Disciplinary Policy

Coming Soon

"For any questions or clarifications on the ONDC Network Policy or to submit any feedback, please write to [email protected]. Please mention '[NETWORK POLICY]' in the subject line. It will allow us to respond faster."