Centre forms 9-member advisory panel to open source e-commerce system

Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani and National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma are among members who will help the government draw up measures needed to design ONDC and make it functional

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The Centre has set up an advisory committee for its Open Network of Digital Commerce (ONDC) through which it plans to open source e-commerce business and standardise protocols for stakeholders joining the digital commerce platform.

The committee comprising nine members includes National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma and Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani.

What is ONDC?

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According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), ONDC “aims at promoting open networks developed on open-sourced methodology, using open specifications and open network protocols, independent on any specific platform.”

Delineating the ONDC’s functions in an order on Monday (June 5), the ministry said it is “expected to digitize the entire value chain, standardize operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers.”

The Centre has already initiated talks with online business platforms like Amazon and Flipkart on the draft Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules which proposes to bar e-commerce firms from displaying or promoting misleading advertisements on their platforms.

Industry experts told Indian Express said ONDC may be implemented along the lines of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), thus bringing various aspects implemented by difference e-commerce platforms on one single platform. These could be vendor onboarding, vendor discovery, price discovery and price cataloguing among other things.

However, the same system could also play spoilsport for bigger companies which will have their proprietary processes for the same functions.

The advisory committee is expected to help the government draw up measures needed to design ONDC and make it functional.

The e-commerce community, however, has protested against the membership of a few to the panel. Quality Control of India chairman Adil Zainulbhai, for instance, is on the board of Reliance Industries, which is emerging as a major player on the e-commerce platform.

CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal, on the other hand, is said to be a vociferous critic of e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon.

Other members of the panel are Avaana Capital founder Anjali Bansal, Digital India co-founder Arvind Gupta, CEO of National Payments Corporation India Dilip Asbe, Retailers Association of India CEO Kumar Rajagopalan and National Security Depository MD Suresh Sethi.




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