India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) can be a transformational tool for the e-commerce sector as Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has proved to be for the Indian financial services sector, said Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textile on Tuesday. He invited all e-commerce companies, big and small, to join ONDC and be part of this new bazaar that reimagines digital commerce.

Addressing the “Enabling Bharat 2.0” workshop conducted by ONDC in New Delhi, the minister said that ONDC will promote local languages, products, and cultural heritage, and create opportunities for small businesses. He said that small artisans and workers can offer better quality through ONDC and also earn better without having to pay commission for their products. He emphasised that ONDC will foster healthy competition, benefit consumers and contribute to the overall growth of digital commerce ecosystem in India.

The Minister outlined the unique features of ONDC, which aims to provide a win-win solution for both buyers and sellers. "ONDC, with its concept of using interfaces between various platforms, will open up more options for buyers, enhance price discovery and market opportunities for sellers, and also empower consumers to make informed choices. This will result in more competition in the market and will not be limited through algorithms. ONDC will enable speedy, efficient, and real-time settlement of transactions, catering to hyperlocal and global needs simultaneously," he said.

The minister cited the success of initiatives like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the financial services sector, which has brought about a transformational journey and encouraged hundreds of fintech companies to innovate and promote financial inclusion. He said that UPI has brought about innovation in the fintech sector at a pace never seen before and promoted startups and unicorns through socialising valuation. He drew parallels with ONDC, which is based on a similar concept of interoperable interface, opening up more options for buyers and creating more competition, while providing ease of operation for sellers across multiple platforms and also providing them a bigger market.

Stating that ONDC will be a transformational engine across the world and not only in India, Goyal said that he is optimistic about a significant growth of ONDC in the next few months. "Monolithic e-commerce platforms will never be able to provide the services of the kind that a network of platforms like ONDC can offer," he added.

The ‘Enabling Bharat 2.0’ workshop was organized to find potential synergies and deepen collaboration among the various open protocol-enabled initiatives and generate awareness amongst multiple stakeholders.

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