NSDL e-Governance develops cab-hailing platform on open-source tech

Ayushi Kar Mumbai | Updated on July 27, 2021

Allows entities to access the platform on their own accord

NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited is developing the world's first cab-hailing platform, which is enabled by open-source specifications. What makes this project distinct from the private cab-hailing platforms already in the market, such as Uber and Ola are that, unlike these enterprises where the company serves as the central aggregator, NSDL’s platform allows various enterprises, cab companies, individual players to access the platform on their own accord using open-source technologies.

Beckn protocols

NSDL e-Gov will be using Beckn protocols, which is an open protocol that enables local commerce across industries to be discovered and engaged by any Beckn-enabled application. This will standardise their open-source code, and increase interoperability, which means that any platform or app or individual can knit themselves into the Beckn network by implementing their end of protocol APIs and become discoverable on their own command. Imagine these protocols to be the key to plug into a wide network.

Suresh Sethi, MD & CEO, NSDL E-Governance told BusinessLine, “It is quite different from platform-centric marketplaces, in that Beckn is an open, digital infrastructure that allows the creation of an unbundled and decentralised digital market more like an open playground that is free and inclusive,”

To start with, NSDL e-Gov's cab-hailing project has just conducted its full-scale launch last week on July 23 initiated by the Kerala government for the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority. Over 950 drivers and 5 Taxi associations in Kochi have been trained under this project.

Democratising access

The key idea here is to lower the customer acquisition cost of companies in the cab-hailing segment, by democratising access for all. In the current arrangement, cab drivers who are getting customers through private players, need to pay high commissions to use the platform or are usually at the mercy of these enterprises. Furthermore, individual cab companies or taxi associations are simply put out of competition.

Open-source essentially means that the code is designed to be publicly accessible, which creates a variety of benefits, one of which is that any enterprise can further value add or join the service of a platform designed on open-source tech. A key contributor to the development of India’s Aadhar Stack, NSDL e-Gov has taken inspiration from a litany of services that were able to be implemented leveraging India Stack such as DigiLocker, eSign, CoWin or UPI, based on the open architecture of the technology. The plan is to do something similar in the cab-hailing front.

Beckn specifically caters to location-aware local commerce businesses. Examples of such businesses include kirana stores, last-mile delivery services, restaurants, hotels, mobility and healthcare services.

Published on July 27, 2021

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