More apps will join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) in the coming weeks to expand the buyers and sellers who can participate in the platform, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Friday.
ONDC – the ministry’s initiative to help small retailers and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants – opened to the public in certain parts of Bengaluru from Friday as part of its beta testing process.
“ONDC is a government start-up. We are now validating some processes and technologies. More than 20 applications will be launched this week,” Anil Agarwal, additional secretary at the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), told reporters.
First, consumers in Bengaluru can place orders in two areas (grocery stores and restaurants) through the buyer app participating in the ONDC network.
Currently, Mystore, Paytm and Spicemoney are available as buyer apps.
Consumers in the city can buy grocery products or order food from stores and restaurants powered by the seller apps (Bizom, Digiit, e-Samudaay, eVitalrx, Go Frugal, Growth Falcons, Innobits Mystore, nStore, SellerApp, Ushop and Uengage).
Dunzo, Loadshare and Shiprocket will provide logistics services and Protean eGov Technologies Ltd will provide gateway services.
“HDFC Bank, IDFC Bank, Kotak Bank and eKart are at an advanced stage of participation and are expected to go live soon,” he said.
He added that ONDC’s beta testing in Bengaluru is an important first step in implementing a web-based approach to e-commerce as an alternative to platform-centric approaches.
The ministry launched the pilot phase of ONDC, a UPI-type agreement, in five cities of Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore in April.
To build trust among consumers, sellers and network participants (buyer apps, seller apps, and gateways) in an open network, ONDC consulted current ecosystem experts and studied adaptation and development in unbundled decentralized Best practices for the best ways to build trust in the network.
A detailed explanation of this is provided in consultation documents made available to the public on the official social media handles of DPIIT, ONDC and their websites.
As many as 20 nationally renowned organisations have confirmed investments of Rs. ONDC 2.55 billion. Banks such as State Bank of India (SBI), UCO Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Bank of Baroda have pledged to invest.
The initiative aims to curb the dominance of two large multinational e-commerce companies that control more than half of the country’s e-commerce trade, restricting market access, giving certain sellers preferential treatment and squeezing supplier profits.
ONDC is a set of standards voluntarily adopted by sellers or logistics providers or payment gateways.
ONDC received its certificate of incorporation as a private sector-led not-for-profit corporation on December 31, 2021.
Through this platform, consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service through the use of any ONDC-compatible application or platform, thereby increasing consumer freedom of choice.