India tackles e-commerce giants with plan for national platform • The Register

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India has targeted Amazon.com, e-commerce platforms like Shopify, and even its local e-commerce success story, Flipkart, in launching an effort to create an “open network for digital commerce” that would provide a platform. independent e-commerce platform spanning multiple vendors.

The effort to create the Open Network (ONDC) is led by the Quality Council of India, a standards body that works with industry groups to define and implement best practices in India’s public and private sectors.

In its expression of interest form for parties wishing to participate in the development of the Network, the Council stated:

The desired outcome is “to increase value for all participants by collectively expanding the e-commerce market while maintaining its competitive synergies”.

The announcement of a nine-member advisory board appointed to lead ONDC’s development says the effort “aims to promote open networks developed on an open source methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols. independent of any specific platform.

“ONDC should digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote supplier inclusion, generate efficiency gains in logistics and improve value for consumers. “

The advisory board includes heavyweights like the non-executive chairman of Infosys, Nandan M. Nilekani, co-founder and director of Digital India, Shri Arvind Gupta, and representatives of venture capital firms.

Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO of the Indian Retailers Association, compared the ONDC to India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a platform operated by the Reserve Bank of India that enables real-time payments between banks and payment systems like Google Pay.

The UPI was put forward as a way to improve access to banking services. ONDC has been touted as facilitating access to e-commerce services for the myriad of small businesses in India.

No timeline has been suggested for the delivery of the ONDC, and its exact mission remains unclear as the advisory board gets to work.

But the intent of the plan is hard to miss: The Indian government doesn’t want e-commerce to be dominated by a handful of giants, even though one of the biggest local players – Flipkart – is an Indian success story. ONDC is therefore also an expression of India’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” self-reliance philosophy, and how it can sometimes be best met by making government a service provider. ®

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