India's ONDC forays into the mobility segment; takes on Uber and Ola

Incorporated in December 2021, ONDC said its aims to create a facilitative model that revolutionises digital commerce, giving greater thrust to penetration of retail e-commerce in India

Peerzada Abrar Bengaluru

ONDC CEO T Koshy with Auto rickshaw drivers

India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) has forayed into the mobility space to help local businesses compete with large players such as Uber and SoftBank-backed Ola. 
Government-backed ONDC has on-boarded Namma Yatri, a Bengaluru-based auto booking app, as part of its open network for mobility initiative.

Namma Yatri tech enables drivers to offer their services directly to customers with zero commission.
ONDC is in talks with more firms in the sector across several cities to bring them on board over the next few months. 

ONDC, a Section 8 non-profit organisation, was set up by the Union commerce ministry to democratise digital commerce.
ONDC’s open mobility initiative is set to be a boon for customers in multiple ways.

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For instance, it will allow customers to book rides from their favourite apps. ONDC has already expanded in areas such as e-commerce grocery and food. 
“What UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) did to digital payments, ONDC intends to do to mobility,” said T Koshy, chief executive officer (CEO) of ONDC.

“One of the challenges of existing platforms, whether it is Amazon or Flipkart, or any other, is that they have their own proprietary technology, which means that you are a part of the walled garden. The beauty of an open network is that you don’t have to be a part of it. You can be anywhere, but you'll still be visible. So, we can have a network expanding across the country as a collective. Not that somebody has to become bigger and buy property like the standard e-commerce strategy.”
Namma Yatri, built and launched by Juspay Technologies in partnership with Bengaluru drivers, has set records to be the first community-led initiative with nearly 45,000 drivers and 450,000 customers.

The app recently became 100 per cent open, and called for citizens’ collective participation. The app currently clocks nearly 100,000 weekly trips and intends to further amplify its growth by being part of the ONDC network.
Vimal Kumar, CEO and founder of Juspay said, “We are keen to support other cities and towns in India with our tech platform. It would make urban mobility in India more affordable and seamless for customers.”

Koshy said that ONDC is not competing with players such as Uber and Ola and expects them to be a part of the network.
He said that when UPI was started, everybody thought it would eat the lunch of players like Mastercard and Visa.

“But we collectively enhanced a market from 250 million transactions per month to over 7 billion transactions,” said Koshy.

First Published: Mar 23 2023 | 9:04 PM IST

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