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Join ONDC soon, and with your main app, or miss the speeding train: Piyush Goyal to e-commerce platforms

India’s Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal urged e-commerce platforms to join ONDC soon, and with their main app, not a separate app.

“I would encourage all the e-commerce companies to come on to ONDC [Open Network for Digital Commerce]. Come on to it at the right time, so that you may not be left behind and it may not be too late for you to board the bus or the train. This is a train which is at high speed. It’s a bullet train. Be a part of this bullet train journey because if you are left behind at the station, the train would have gone far ahead and may at some point not be able to give you an opportunity to board,” India’s Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal remarked at the Enabling Bharat 2.0 event held on April 26.

“And with the whole force of the government, I can tell you we’ll be encouraging people to transact more and more through those companies which are on ONDC, which are engaged on giving opportunity and options to our consumers,” the Minister added (emphasis ours).

Goyal also urged ONDC to exclude all those who don’t join the network by a certain deadline.

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Why does this matter: With the Minister strongly urging platforms to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), which is a non-profit company and not a government entity, it is yet another indication that the government is throwing its full support behind ONDC. This indicates that the upcoming e-commerce policies could work in favor of the network and against marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart. While ONDC numbers and awareness might be lagging at present, government support like this can shore up these numbers. But how will existing e-commerce platforms view this? Would it encourage them to join the ONDC bandwagon or would it dissuade them from making significant investments in India?

Come with your main app, not a separate app: “I like to encourage e-commerce companies to come onto the ONDC platform with their main offering,” Piyush Goyal said. The network should stop anybody who wants to join with a separate platform. “That’s not exactly what we intended ONDC to be. In a way, I think that’s an unfair way to try and get the benefits of ONDC as a seller, but not offer all the buyers who come on your platform to get a chance to go to ONDC,” the Minster added. This appears to be a veiled dig at PhonePe, which recently announced that it is creating a separate app for ONDC called Pincode. PhonePe, however, had its own reasons for doing this. This could also be targeted at the likes of Amazon and Flipkart who have enrolled their logistics delivery but not their e-commerce platforms.

“Don’t get excited if somebody is telling you [they will make a] special platform [for ONDC], throw him out of your system.” — Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal

This post is released under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license. Please feel free to republish on your site, with attribution and a link. Adaptation and rewriting, though allowed, should be true to the original.

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