The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a government initiative, will support small retailers to survive the competition of e-commerce companies, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Monday. He added that over the next 2-3 years, many more products will come under the ambit of mandatory quality control orders.

Addressing an event organised by industry chambers , Goyal said, “ONDC will help small retailers to survive the onslaught of large tech-based e-commerce companies. Our effort is to encourage small companies, start-ups to integrate into the e-commerce ecosystem. Like UPI democratised payment systems, ONDC will democratise the benefits of e-commerce.”

Talking about the need to step up focus on domestic manufacturing of quality products, he said the consumer goods industry has been the “victim of indiscriminate low quality imports.” He pointed out the trade deficit from one nation, for instance, imports from one geography increased significantly between 2004-14, which broke the back of Indian manufacturing.

He said that the government has been focusing over the last few years to grow domestic manufacturing in India. “ The government has been able to stem the fall of domestic manufacturing and now we have to work to take it to greater heights,” Goyal added.

Talking about the government’s focus on strengthening quality of products, Goyal said, ”Over the past few years, we have implemented almost four times the number of quality control orders than what we had ten years ago. In the next 2-3 years, we hope to significantly ramp up focus on quality by bringing in reasonably strict and compulsory but practical quality standards for many products to strengthen manufacturing competitiveness,” he added.

 The Minister said that focus on domestic quality will stop the influx of low quality products in the country and the consumers have a key role to play in promoting quality manufacturing.

Stating that India will be an important consumer market, he added that a virtuous circle will need to be created focusing on massive investments to create the necessary building blocks on which the Indian economy will rest.

Retail policy

Meanwhile, in another session, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) , Joint Secretary Sanjiv said that the government is working to bring a national retail trade policy for brick and mortar retail traders, with an aim to promote ease of doing business. He said that the policy would also help in providing better infrastructure and more credit to traders.