In addition to the ONDC project, the government is also proposing changes to existing laws that could have far-reaching consequences for e-commerce.
The Ministry for the Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) appointed nine members to the advisory board of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a government, on Monday Press release specified.
ONDC is a digital project launched by the government in 2020 to develop an open, UPI-like architecture for the e-commerce landscape. The project aims to establish protocols for cataloging, vendor search and pricing and to standardize the process of integrating retailers into e-marketplaces and the delivery and delivery of products via online channels. Different rules currently apply to different platforms, making it difficult for small sellers to take over and sell online.
“ONDC aims to promote open networks that have been developed using open source methods and that use open specifications and open network protocols regardless of any particular platform. ONDC is expected to digitize the entire value chain, standardize processes, promote the involvement of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and increase the value for consumers. ” Press release
The project was launched in response to a large number of complaints about misconduct and monopoly tendencies from existing e-commerce companies.
Last November, the government set up a steering committee to formulate, implement and oversee the ONDC. DPIIT has commissioned the Quality Council of India to carry out a pilot project for ONDC.
Changes to the e-commerce rules are taking place in parallel
ONDC’s announcement comes at a time when another major overhaul is expected in the e-commerce space. The government proposed changes on June 21st that will give the existing consumer protection (e-commerce) rules more teeth in 2020. The proposed changes include new rules against the abuse of FDI regulations, the establishment of a complaint procedure, new display and labeling criteria for foreign goods, the ban on flash sales, data protection for customers.
After several stakeholders expressed concerns about the proposed changes, the Department of Consumers on Monday extended the deadline for submitting comments and suggestions from July 6 to July 21, 2021.
Members of the Advisory Board
The members appointed to the Advisory Board who advise the government on actions needed to shape and accelerate the adoption of ONDC are:
- RS Sharma, CEO, National Health Authority
- Nandan M. Nilekani, Infosys non-executive chairman
- Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, QCI and Capacity Building Commission
- Anjali Bansal, Founder and Chair, Avaana Capital
- Arvind Gupta, Co-Founder and Director, Digital India Foundation
- Dilip Asbe, MD & CEO, NPCI
- Suresh Sethi, MD & CEO, NSDL
- Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary, CAIT
- Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI
Beckn from Nandan Nilekani is also working on similar protocols
The non-profit association Beckn is also working on the development of open specifications for mobility and trade. “Beckn is to digital commerce what HTTP is to the World Wide Web and SMTP is to email,” the company said in its Concept paper.
“Visualize Beckn as a UPI for mobility and trade. It integrates all of these service providers and provides a single interface for application developers, just like UPI did for payment service providers, ”said one of the sources familiar with Beckn’s way of working Entrakr. “Simply put, a user could book an Uber or Ola but they don’t need an Uber app,” added the source.
Beckn was co-founded by Nandan Nilekani, Pramod Varma and Sujith Nair. Nilekani is now on the ONDC Advisory Board. Nilekani has played a key role in many government technology initiatives: he is the founding chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the agency that issues Aadhaar cards, and the head of TAGUP, a government advisory group that deals with the technological aspects of financial projects such as GST and TIN.
One of the roles on the Beckn. are specified website is to “enable government to promote an interoperable, open ecosystem of applications to connect consumers with providers, maximizing value for all stakeholders without being monopolized by one or two actors”. Given that and Nilekani’s shared connection, Beckn could play a role in ONDC’s future.
Another member added to the Advisory Board, RS Sharma, also worked on Aadhaar with Nilekani and is now the CEO of the National Health Authority, where he oversees the CoWIN platform that facilitates the introduction of vaccines in the country.
ONDC will offer e-tailers uniform options: CAIT
“It will be one of the most innovative e-commerce initiatives by any government in the world, bringing unified opportunities to all e-commerce entities doing business through any type of e-commerce,” said BCBhartia, National President, and Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), said in a statement sent to MediaNama. Khandelwal is one of the newly appointed members of the ONDC Advisory Board.
Khandelwal said ONDC will go beyond the current platform-centric digital trading model and connect buyers and sellers regardless of the e-commerce platforms.
“The open network protocol is designed to act as a force multiplier for final beneficiaries: customers, application developers, governments and corporations by creating an interoperable open playground to unleash value and innovation. This will be most powerful for MSMEs and small traders who want to unlock value and scale their business through the digital trading floor. ”- Khandelwal