Piyush Goyal chairs ONDC Advisory Council Meeting

New Delhi: The ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce), an initiative aiming at promoting open networks for all aspects of exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks, is gaining increasing traction from the industry. A total of seven companies- one buyer side app, five seller side apps and one logistics service provider app – have adopted ONDC protocols and built their own ONDC compatible apps.

These apps have been able to successfully complete cascaded transactions across the ONDC network during the pilot phase in five designated cities- Bengaluru, New Delhi, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore – in grocery and food and beverages segments. The information was provided during the meeting of the ONDC Advisory Council chaired by Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal to review the progress made in the project in New Delhi today.

The meeting was attended by Shri Nandan Nilekani, Shri Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman QCI, Shri Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT, Shri R S Sharma, CEO, NHA, Shri Suresh Sethi, CEO NSDL e-Gov, Shri Dilip Asbe, CEO, NPCI, Shri Praveen Khandelwal, SG CAIT, Shri K Rajgopalan, CEO RAI, Shri Arvind Gupta, Ms Anjali Bansal, Avaana Capital and Shri Anil Agrawal, Additional secretary, DPIIT.

The meeting reviewed the status of the pilot launched since April 29, 2022 and discussed plans for faster rollout of the ONDC platform to a larger number of traders, categories of goods, geographies and companies. The success achieved has ignited tremendous interest in many new companies and a large number of companies on buyer side, seller side and logistics side are now building their own apps and are in advanced stages of integration with ONDC.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal said that Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has stated that the ONDC will open up new opportunities for small traders, MSMEs and businesses. While the pilot phase of ONDC has given promising results with traders who were already digitally present, ONDC must prioritize strategies towards inclusion of non-digital traders, handicraftsmen and artisans so that the benefits of e-commerce may be availed by these sections.

The Minister asked the department to launch a pilot with focus on non-digital traders from one single market. He said the local trader associations should be involved in the exercise and necessary measures for awareness generation and capacity building of various stakeholders be taken.

During the meeting it was informed that the ONDC and NABARD are working on a program to bring the agriculture sector to ONDC and as a first step, a hackathon is being organized on 1-3 July to build innovative solutions for FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations). The Minister said that ONDC may prove to be an invaluable tool to assist farmers find the right prices for their produce.

It was also apprised that Govt of UP has actively started working with ONDC to get all the ODOP products available on ONDC network. Shri Goyal directed that building on the template of collaboration with Govt of UP on ODOP products, similar efforts must be made for GI, Khadi, handicraft and tribal products. DPIIT should also work with GOI Ministries and State Governments to get all such entities integrate with ONDC.

Minister Goyal also asked the department to leverage the strength of Startup India to build ONDC based applications. As the ONDC architecture removes many entry barriers to e-commerce, it is much more feasible for entrepreneurs to create sustainable businesses on ONDC architecture.

The network of Startup India Seed Funded incubators may be leveraged for this purpose. Creation of apps in regional languages should be promoted for catering to the diverse needs of citizens living in various towns and villages across country. Shri Goyal said that ONDC must closely work with various industry associations to bring faster adoption to ONDC.

Shri Goyal directed that ONDC network needs to make robust policy framework for building trust in the network. The National Consumer Helpline records show that major grievances of consumers are related to delivery of wrong, defective or damaged product, non-delivery or delayed delivery, no refunds as promised and deficiency in services promised. All these issues must be addressed effectively.