The commerce and industry ministry on Friday said many more applications will join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) in the coming weeks to expand both buyers and sellers who can participate in this platform.
ONDC — the ministry's initiative to help small retailers and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants — has opened to the public in certain parts of Bengaluru from Friday as part of its beta testing process.
"ONDC is a government's startup. We are now in the process of validating some of the processes and technologies. 20 more apps will come this week," Additional Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Anil Agarwal told reporters.
To begin with, consumers in Bengaluru can place their orders in two domains — groceries and restaurants —through buyer apps participating in the ONDC network.
At present, Mystore, Paytm, and Spicemoney are available as buyer apps.
Consumers in the city can buy grocery products or order food from the stores and restaurants enabled by seller apps — Bizom, Digiit, e-Samudaay, eVitalrx, Go Frugal, Growth Falcons, Innobits Mystore, nStore, SellerApp, Ushop and Uengage.
Dunzo, Loadshare and Shiprocket will be providing logistics services and Protean eGov Technologies Ltd will provide gateway services.
"HDFC Bank, IDFC Bank, Kotak Bank and eKart are in advanced stages of engagement and expected to go live shortly," he said.
ONDC's beta test in Bengaluru is a major first step in operationalising a network approach to e-commerce as an alternative to platform centric approach, he added.
The ministry in April launched the pilot phase of the ONDC, a UPI-type protocol, in five cities — Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore.
To build trust amongst consumers, sellers and network participants (buyer apps, seller apps and gateways) in the open network, ONDC has consulted the current ecosystem experts and examined best practices for adapting and evolving the best approach to build trust in an unbundled decentralised network.
A detailed explanation in this regard is available in a consultation paper that is being made available for the public on the official social media handles of the DPIIT, ONDC and its website.
As many as 20 organisations of national repute have confirmed investments of Rs. 255 crore in ONDC. Lenders such as State Bank of India (SBI), UCO Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Bank of Baroda have already committed investments.
The initiative is aimed at curbing the dominance of two large multinational e-commerce players, which control more than half of the country's e-commerce trading, limit access to the market, and give preferential treatment to certain sellers and squeeze supplier margins.
ONDC is a set of standards for voluntary adoption by sellers or logistics providers or payment gateways.
ONDC received its certificate of incorporation as a private sector-led non-profit company on December 31, 2021.
Through this platform, consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service by using any ONDC-compatible application or platform, thus increasing freedom of choice for consumers.
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