The government wants all e-commerce players to become part of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) and this initiative is not trying to put anybody out of business, a top official said on Thursday. Secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Rajesh Kumar Singh said that the idea is to democratise the e-commerce for MSMEs and smaller producers in the remote parts of the country and provide them a level playing field.
“It’s not that we are trying to put anybody out of business, or we are an upfront competitor to any particular portal or any particular e-commerce provider. We are actually inclusive, we want all e-commerce players to be part of this network,” Singh told reporters here.
The statement assumes significance as there were certain reports that prices of certain food products are much cheaper at the seller apps on-boarded the ONDC initiative as compared to the renowned food delivery services players’ prices.
Singh said that in the long run, because of the enhanced competition, the consumer would also gain.
“Therefore we are not interested in the kind of coverage that goes on that someone’s margin is getting cut. Competition is the goal and as part of the competition, there could be some squeezing of margins that were being created by monopoly position,” Singh said.
In the long run, Singh said, the intention is to bring everybody on board and create a public digital infrastructure which is unique to India like the UPI.
The idea is to “create a different digital public infrastructure for the country, from which everybody gains and we provide the best kind of service standards at the best price for all sections of society,” he said.
Incorporated on December 31, 2021, ONDC is a Section 8 company.
It is an initiative of the DPIIT to create a facilitative model to help small retailers take advantage of digital commerce. It is not an application, platform, intermediary, or software but a set of specifications designed to foster open, unbundled, and interoperable open networks.
He also said that “no funding and no tailor-made policies” would be there specifically to promote the network.
He said this while replying to a question about whether there is any plan to extend incentives like UPI to ONDC.
“We want all e-commerce players to be part of this network,” Singh said.