Centre likely to unveil e-comm platform this month

SAN FRANCISCO : India is working on a “open network for digital commerce” (ONDC), that would soon bring almost 6 crore small mom-and-pop stores or neighbourhood shops onto a platform, where their goods would become visible to consumers, commerce minister Piyush Goyal said. Integration of all e-commerce platforms onto a common network, enabling each player to be discoverable by a wider market, will help them survive the onslaught of big e-commerce giants.
“The beta testing is on right now. We plan to start it in one or two cities. A well tried and tested version that is able to handle large volumes. We will integrate the one district, one product (ODOP ) on this platform,” Goyal said.
In response to a question on how small stores in India will stand up to ecommerce giants, the minister said: “India has about 6 crore small stores that employ about 10 crore people. Large e-comm platforms use big data and algorithms to promote products of their choice. As consumer affairs minister, my job is to ensure that people get full information of the products available and their choice is not limited to what the big companies want to promote. ”
That’s where the “work in progress” ONDC comes into play. “All platforms (read even small shops) will be able to join this network. The small mom-and-pop stores can create small, localised networks. Once on ONDC, the consumer’s choice will increase exponentially. Supposing they want to order a bottle of water, they will know through this network that a neighbourhood shop has a particular one they want and can quickly deliver. While we can’t wish away the emergence of e-comm (giants), this will give small stores visibility,” Goyal said.
He expressed confidence that ONDC will be the next fintech revolution in India. “Instead of one or two players becoming trillion-dollar companies, this will enable 500 (small ones) to become unicorns. ”

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