ONDC will offer equal opportunities to small businesses to enjoy the benefits of digital commerce and also trade on a democratised platform, Piyush Goyal, Commerce and Industry Minister said this recently.
Referring to the duopoly in India’s ecommerce sector, Goyal told PTI that small retailing businesses are bearing the effects of the growing influence of the ecommerce giants that are indulging in unethical practices and therefore, have come under the scanner of the Directorate of Enforcement.
Earlier, it was reported that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was probing ecommerce giants for offering preferential market access to selected sellers and breaching the competition law.
During the probe, ecommerce players refrained from sharing information with the CCI. The competition body thus, shifted its focus on small and medium businesses that are registered as sellers on these ecommerce platforms to access the required information.
Besides India, the ecommerce giants are also impacting small retailing businesses in developed countries such as the US, in turn, causing large-scale unemployment.
“We do not want that to happen in India. We want them (small retailers) to get an opportunity to use technology to serve our consumers, we want them to get an equal opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the digital world, we want their data to be protected,” the Minister said.
To boost such small retailing businesses, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) set up ONDC in December 2021. In essence, ONDC aims to build a level playing field for small businesses.
“ONDC is a set of protocols and a technology-based solution which allows everybody to trade on a common platform,” Goyal said.
In April, the government started the pilot phase of ONDC in five cities in India including Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore. It aims to expand the ONDC network to 100 cities by August 2022. 24 homegrown ecommerce startups including Ekart Logistics, PhonePe and Dunzo were said to have integrated this project.
In May, Paytm Mall’s parent Paytm E-commerce was looking to pivot to the ONDC platform to explore export opportunities. With this move, the startup sought to create a long-term business in association with ONDC.
During the same month, Google shared plans to join the ONDC network to expand its reach in India. Google Pay’s competitors are already a part of ONDC and are planning to integrate the network with their online platforms.
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