E-commerce majors such as Amazon and Flipkart can decide on joining the government’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the public digital infrastructure network for buyers and sellers, purely based on economic considerations as participation is voluntary, officials have stated. 

“When it will make business sense to them, Amazon and Flipkart will come in (join ONDC). In any case it is voluntary to participate. They are existing platforms and they have their own setups. Migrating to a new system and a new network can take time,” a senior official from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said on Friday.

ONDC CEO T Koshy pointed out that the two e-commerce majors were in serious discussions with the government on the ways and means of integrating with ONDC, as established players have to make more adjustments.

On Friday, the DPIIT organised the ‘ONDC Startup Mahotsav’ on Friday which saw over 125 start-ups, unicorns and high-growth businesses signing Letter of Intent (LOI).  This included players such as EaseMyTrip, OfBusiness, Winzo, Livspace, GlobalBees, Pristyn Care, Cars24, Physics Wallah, PolicyBazaar, and Zerodha.  These LoIs signify these companies intent to collaborate with the platform and onboard on the Network, the Ministry stated.

Speaking at a press meet, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Secretary, DPIIT, said the ONDC was set up primarily to democratise and make digital commerce accessible to smaller players. “It has started getting increasing traction over the last two years. Five lakh sellers have onboarded, of which 70 per cent are small and medium sized sellers. In April, ONDC facilitated 7.22 million transactions,” he added.

The Ministry said that the event marked a collaboration between DPIIT’s flagship initiatives – the Startup India initiative and ONDC. Singh said that this collaboration is meant to ensure that start-ups are able to access this Network. The Centre beleives ONDC ecosystem will drive innovation, foster competition and enhance consumer choice.

Asked if big start-ups would overshadow smaller players, Singh hoped that it would increasingly get traction from all types of players that come to the e-commerce marketplace .“The intent is noble, let us see how it works and to what extent we can actually crack some of the issues you raised in terms of market concentration,” he added.