Piyush Goyal
Piyush GoyalFile photo

Goyal reviews Open Network for Digital Commerce

New Delhi, October 27, 2021

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday reviewed the progress on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

The meeting was attended by Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT and members of the Advisory Council of ONDC including RS Sharma, CEO, NHA, Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, QCI, Dilip Asbe, MD & CEO, NPCI, Suresh Sethi, MD & CEO, NSDL-e Gov Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, Arvind Gupta, Founder, MyGov and Anjali Bansal of Avaana Capital.

The Minister was apprised about the significant progress made for the project. QCI has established a team of experts for the execution of the project in a mission mode. Several small and medium enterprises have been onboarded as volunteers to complement the ONDC team.

An ONDC gateway has also been established. About 20 entities covering all network components are at various stages of onboarding. The DPIIT has approved a budget of approximately Rs 10 crores for initial work on the project.

It has been suggested to establish a private sector-led non-profit company. The entity is expected to provide a start-up 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, an official press release said.

The role of the entity would be to develop the network by adopting and building enabling technology and encouraging wide-scale voluntary participation by eco-system players. It would ensure network discipline by establishing a code of conduct and rules of network based on principles of consumer protection, fair trade and regulatory conformity, the release said.

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, and so on.

It 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 release said.

The meeting was also attended by several 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.

Goyal expressed satisfaction with the progress made and desired to compress timelines for making this network a reality soon. He called for ensuring wide participation from the ecosystem. The institutional structure should be created in such a manner to ensure that the entity conducts itself in an ethical, cooperative, democratic and responsible manner. Special efforts must be made to build trust in the ONDC network and elaborate mechanisms must be put in place for dispute resolution.


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