ONDC to provide equal opportunities to small traders: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) will provide equal opportunities to small retailers to enjoy the benefits of digital world and permit them to trade on a common platform, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
On April 29, the government launched the pilot phase of ONDC, a UPI-type protocol, in five cities. It was aimed at democratising the fast growing e-commerce sector, helping small retailers and reducing the dominance of online retail giants.
Goyal said that small retailers’ very existence could have come under threat with the growing influence of large format e-commerce companies, which are indulging in several irregular practices and are under investigations by the Directorate of Enforcement.
In countries like the US, the big e-commerce giants have severely impacted small retail shops, leading to large scale unemployment.
“We do not want that to happen in India. We want them (small retailers) to get an opportunity to use technology to serve our consumers, we want them to get an equal opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the digital world, we want their data to be protected,” he told reporters.
ONDC is a set of protocols and a technology-based solution which allows everybody to trade on a common platform, he said.
Everybody is aware about the malpractices that are followed by the big e-commerce companies in terms of how they are giving preference to their own sister companies and where they have shareholdings, he said.
Such practices result in exploitation of sellers, he added.
“ONDC will provide a huge number of choices to consumers … In a way, it is a medium to democratise e-commerce. It will provide equal opportunities to sell products and all consumers will get good number of choices,” Goyal said.
ONDC is a set of standards for voluntary adoption by sellers or logistics providers or payment gateways.
When asked about the news report concerning rejection of an Indian wheat consignment by Turkey on phytosanitary concerns, the minister said that he has inquired about the issue and found that ITC has exported wheat to a Netherland buyer after following the due process and quality check.
He further said that ITC is a reputed company and exports good quality wheat and added “I am sure that Indian wheat is of best quality”.
India has exported 70 lakh tonnes of wheat in the last fiscal and 14.5 lakh tonnes in April and this reflects that “world over, Indian wheat is welcomed,” he said.

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