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Commerce Ministry appoints committee to develop govt-backed e-commerce platform

The Commerce Ministry has set up a steering committee to formulate, implement and provide policy oversight on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), which is essentially an e-commerce business platform being developed with the government’s backing. The committee was been set up by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to carry out a pilot, according to a government order dated November 24. Medianama has seen a copy of the order and four members of the committee, including Confederation of All India Traders’ general secretary Praveen Khandelwal confirmed its authenticity.

According to the order, the steering committee “will initially build consensus throughout the organisation and then once the project gets underway, will ensure that the project continues to meet the set vision, goals, and objectives.”

The steering committee comprises of:

  1. Joint Secretary, DPIIT as the Chairman of the committee
  2. Representative from Government e-Market (GeM)
  3. Representative from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  4. Representative from the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  5. Representative from the NITI Aayog
  6. Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Council of India
  7. Dilip Asbe, chief executive officer, National Payments Corporation of India
  8. Suresh Seth, CEO, NSDL (while the order mentions this name, the present CEO of NSDL is G.V. Nageswara Rao. However, Suresh Sethi is the CEO of NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Ltd)
  9. Arvind Gupta, founder of MyGov
  10. Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, Confederation of All India Traders
  11. Representatives from the Retailers Association of India

According to a statement from CAIT, the DPIIT has assigned the work of carrying out a pilot for ONDC to the Quality Council of India. The ONDC is a digital project of the government to redefine the e-commerce landscape in the wake of a large number of complaints of malpractices being conducted by existing e-commerce companies, the statement said.

Khandelwal also said that traders are concerned over the uneven level playing field in the e-commerce industry due to predatory pricing, deep discounting, exclusive brand arrangements and inventory practices. “Let there be a competition between equals at even level playing field and the proposed open architecture will certainly meet this end,” he said.

Soumyarendra Barik contributed reporting.

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