Network based systems

Government to launch e-commerce network in 100 cities

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The government plans to roll out its locally-developed online e-commerce network to the public in 100 Indian cities by Diwali to provide millions of kirana stores and consumers with an alternative to multinational platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart.

Labor Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal announced the test launch of the open-source system on Friday. The beta launch will unveil the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) computer applications and register covering a small number of retailers and customers initially in Bangalore on Friday, two people directly associated with the project said.

“After UPI (Unified Payment Interface), another game-changing idea to democratize commerce: the soft launch of ONDC today to select consumers, sellers and logistics providers. Get ready for a world of choice, convenience and transparency,” the minister said in a tweet on Friday.

The project is massive as it will provide wide choice to all consumers and retailers and the official launch will take place after successful testing of the system, said Anil Agrawal, the additional secretary of the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade. (DPIIT) .

“End-to-end testing is underway to create a playbook with the goal of launching it in 100 cities within six months. [by October 2022],” he said.

About 15 restaurants and grocery stores have been registered in Bangalore along with selected consumers to start the trial with the actual delivery of the products, ONDC chief executive Thampy Koshy said in Bengaluru on Friday.

“This is the field trial with real transactions. In the coming week, we will cover two big and three small cities. Based on the experience, we will gradually expand it,” he said. he declares.

The ONDC system is different from the operating models of existing e-commerce businesses in India and abroad, where buyers and sellers are restricted to their respective platforms, Koshy said.

“Our model is platform independent. It’s unique, it’s never been done anywhere in the world. Therefore, a thoughtful approach,” he said.

“ONDC is based on interoperability where all platforms will talk to each other,” Koshy said.

The system will provide multiple choices for retailers and customers in terms of cataloging, inventory, warehousing, suppliers, logistics and payments, he said. The initial test launch, which started in Bengaluru, will also cover cities such as Delhi, Coimbatore, Bhopal and Shillong.

Amazon India said it was “engaged closely with the ONDC team to better understand the proposed model.” “We remain committed to the government’s vision of digitizing kiranas, local shops and creating opportunities for businesses across India by simplifying the adoption of technology to help local shops and businesses contribute to this for India to become a $5 trillion economy. We are working closely with the ONDC team to better understand the proposed model and assess the role Amazon can play in better serving Indian customers and sellers,” an Amazon India spokesperson said.

Flipkart did not respond to email questions about this.

Experts who wish not to be named said the ONDC model could also present some challenges such as the return policy, which is currently the responsibility of e-commerce platforms.

The other challenge could be related to redressing consumer grievances.

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