With the commerce and industry ministry's initiative to help small retailers and reduce the dominance of e-commerce giants, Open Network for Digital Commerce will be opened to the public in Bengaluru from Friday as part of its beta testing process.
"Bengaluru consumers to get a whole new shopping experience! Beta testing of the Govt's revolutionary Open Network For Digital Commerce to begin from tomorrow. It is democratic, cost-effective and empowers buyers and small businesses," commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.
The ministry in April launched the pilot phase of the open network for digital commerce, a UPI-type protocol, in five cities – Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore. People were allowed to do transactions in these cities.
As many as 20 organisations of national repute have confirmed investments of ₹255 crore into ONDC. Lenders such as State Bank of India, UCO Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Bank of Baroda have already committed investments.
The initiative is aimed at curbing the dominance of two large multinational e-commerce players, which control more than half of the country's e-commerce trading, limit access to the market, and give preferential treatment to certain sellers and squeeze supplier margins.
ONDC is a set of standards for voluntary adoption by sellers or logistics providers or payment gateways.
ONDC received its certificate of incorporation as a private sector-led non-profit company on December 31, 2021.
Through this platform, consumers can potentially discover any seller, product or service by using any ONDC-compatible application or platform, thus increasing freedom of choice for consumers.