Updated: July 6, 2021 1:40:50 pm
Opening up a fresh front of crackdown on large e-commerce platforms, the Centre has moved ahead with its plans for the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) by forming an advisory council comprising nine members including National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma and Infosys non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani. Through the ONDC, the government is looking to standardise protocols for onboarding stakeholders such as sellers on e-marketplaces.
In an order on Monday, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said that the ONDC “aims at promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols, independent on any specific platform. ONDC is expected to digitise the entire value chain, standardise operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiency in logistics and enhance value for consumers”.
This has come at a time the government is already engaging with major foreign-funded online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart over the draft Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, which the Consumer Affairs Ministry published last month.
According to industry executives, the implementation of ONDC, which is expected to be on the lines of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) could bring various operational aspects put in place by e-commerce platforms on to the same level. These include processes such as vendor onboarding, vendor discovery, price discovery and product cataloguing. One executive said that if mandated, this could be problematic for larger e-commerce companies, which have proprietary processes in these aspects.
In addition to Sharma and Nilekani, other members on the advisory council are Quality Control of India Chairman Adil Zainulbhai, Avaana Capital Founder Anjali Bansal, Digital India Foundation Co-Founder Arvind Gupta, National Payments Corporation India CEO Dilip Asbe, National Security Depository MD Suresh Sethi, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, and Retailers Association of India CEO Kumar Rajagopalan. In the order, the DPIIT noted that it has been decided to constitute an advisory council to advise the government on measures needed to design and accelerate the adoption of ONDC.
Late last year, the DPIIT had formed an intra-governmental committee comprising representatives from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Niti Aayog, Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, Government e-Marketplace, National Payments Corporation of India, and National Security Depository Ltd as members.
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