The central government’s ambitious Open Network for Digital Commerce’s (ONDC’s) small-scale implementation is set to begin from Friday to see how the technology-enabled infrastructure works, thereby making processes more robust before it is officially launched.
This will be done across five cities — Delhi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Bhopal, and Shillong.
Thereafter, it will be scaled up and launched in 100 cities over a period of six months, said a senior government official.
“The pilot aims to test end-to-end transactions on the ONDC architecture across different platforms, including ordering, payment, and delivery.
"This exercise will help in the creation of a robust playbook for further scaling up operations,” Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Additional Secretary Anil Agarwal told Business Standard.
ONDC goes beyond the current platform-centric model and aims to empower merchants and consumers by breaking silos to form a single network to drive innovation and scale, transforming all businesses.
The network aims to provide access to businesses by increasing its discoverability at a low cost and will cover retail, mobility, hospitality, food delivery, wholesale trade, and tourism It aims to benefit small, traditional retailers, while curbing digital monopolies.
Touted as the Unified Payments Interface equivalent for the e-commerce space, ONDC is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. Recently, he had reviewed its progress.
As many as 150 retailers will participate in the pilot that will be launched in the five cities mentioned earlier.
Five seller platforms — SellerApp, GrowthFalcons, Gofrugal, Digiit, and eSamudaay — will be participating in this exercise and onboard sellers/retailers on the ONDC-compliant application (app), giving them visibility.
Similarly, a buyer-side app, which in this case will be Paytm, will also be connected to the ONDC architecture.
Delivery or logistics providers — for delivery of goods — are also being onboarded. For this, LoadShare has agreed to participate.
Spearheaded by DPIIT, ONDC is a private sector-led non-profit organisation.
The company has received a fund infusion of Rs 255 crore for the first stage of its project from several banks and financial institutions.
Earlier this month, Business Standard had reported that ONDC has received investment from the Quality Council of India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Small Industries Development Bank of India, State Bank of India, and Punjab National Bank, among others.
Infosys non-executive chairman and Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani, National Health Authority chief executive officer R S Sharma, among other experts, have been advising the government to design and accelerate the adoption of ONDC.