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Walmarts to Flipkarts, all have role in making ONDC a success: Piyush Goyal

According to the minister, small artisans and workers can offer better quality products through ONDC and also earn better, without having to pay commission

Piyush Goyal insisted members water down the WTO’s subsidy rules for government-backed food-purchasing programs aimed at feeding poor citizens. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Shreya Nandi New Delhi

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Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday invited big and small e-commerce companies to join the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), which aims to reimagine digital commerce.

“The Walmarts and Flipkarts of the world, the Tatas and Reliances of the world — everybody has a role in making ONDC a success. So, we would like to invite everybody to be a part of this journey in a free and fair manner and nobody will be discriminated against. It is open to all. ONDC is open for business,” Goyal said.

ONDC goes beyond the current platform-centric models where a buyer and seller will have to use the same application. It is a public decentralised digital network being built with support and participation from a wide range of stakeholders, from small retailers and start-ups to leading businesses.

It is a not-for-profit company, and formulates a set of standards for voluntary adoption by sellers or logistics providers or payments gateway operators.

According to the minister, small artisans and workers can offer better quality products through ONDC and also earn better, without having to pay commission.

Besides, ONDC will foster healthy competition, benefit consumers and contribute to the overall growth of the digital commerce ecosystem in India.

“ONDC is using a system for creating an interoperable network, allowing different platforms to collaborate. It will lead to a win-win solution,” the minister said, while addressing ‘Enabling Bharat 2.0,’ a one-day workshop conducted by ONDC in the national capital.

Predatory pricing

Goyal also said the government is against predatory pricing and other cheating methods used by e-retailers to restrict consumer choices.

Often, consumers purchase goods on the marketplace to avail benefits of flash sales. They are diverted to entities preferred or promoted by the online retailer, which is against the foreign direct investment (FDI) rules.

There are two objections — one is following the practice of predatory pricing by dumping of goods, and the other is methods to restrict consumer choices.

“We are only trying to stop that cheating through the e-commerce policy that we are coming out with,” the minister said.

He said that foreign e-commerce players have deep pockets and for them investing a few billion dollars in India and registering ‘huge’ losses is not a problem. They are only into accretion of customers at any cost, he added.

“The marketplace players can sell products as their own single-brand platform. We have no problem. It is perfectly possible and permitted. But you cannot mix the marketplace model with your single-brand retail model,” he added.

With inputs from PTI

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First Published: Apr 25 2023 | 10:00 PM IST

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