ONDC will provide opportunities for innovation, growth for startups and e-commerce ecosystem players: CEO T Koshy

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), the Government of India’s ambitious project to democratize e-commerce in India, will serve as a level playing field for all businesses and provide a platform for start-ups, ecosystem participants including banks, MSMEs and telcos. find new opportunities for innovation and growth,” said ONDC Managing Director and CEO T. Koshy.

At ET India Rising, which is sponsored by Visa and features a series of pivotal conversations with top business and policy leaders as they formulate their vision for India at 100 years old, Koshy drew a roadmap for the future of e-commerce in India along with ONDC. which opened to consumers in Bangalore in September of this year as part of a beta test of a network designed to cement India’s status as the “first mover on this planet” in digital commerce.

ONDC, which promotes open source networks for all aspects of digital commerce, will allow buyers and sellers to move from their existing platform-centric model to a functional, intermediary-driven, decentralized network. The pilot project is currently being implemented in 15 cities including Delhi, Shillong, Coimbatore, Bhopal, Bangalore and Lucknow.

According to Cauchy, ONDC is meant to be an ecosystem builder that is defined by “equal opportunity for all”, relies on a “trust-building mechanism” that ignites entrepreneurial passion and serves as a benchmark for the world. Koshy spoke with Miloni Bhatt, Digital Broadcasting Editor, EconomicTimes.com, at ET India Rising, where some of India’s most influential decision makers share their perspective and understanding of the challenges, opportunities and trends that will shape India’s ascent to the global economy . a powerhouse supported by three key pillars of the economy: financial services, MSMEs, and infrastructure and manufacturing.

Part of a think tank and having initiated several tectonic shifts in generational structures, Cauchy is a digital pioneer and one of the respected names behind landmark projects such as Aadhaar, the demat discourse and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

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A great equalizer, Koshi was instrumental in empowering India’s millions of disenfranchised people who were previously cut off from the formal economy. And by bringing together previously uncounted sections of the population and empowering millions of people, Cauchy’s vision aligns with the vision of building a new India, an India of equal opportunity, through ONDC.

Describing the megatrends and opportunities that will help accelerate the adoption of ONDC, Koshy said, “There is an extremely strong startup ecosystem that is looking for opportunities for real innovation and does not limit its innovation to just a few pockets. Innovation can only find scale if it is part of an ecosystem. So they are all looking for an opportunity, but everyone should have an equal opportunity to succeed based on what they have to offer, not because they have some control. And it’s already there, it’s in ONDC. ”

This is where ONDC comes into play with its ability and willingness to support all digital commerce players, from SMBs to startups, logistics companies, banks, fintechs, telecoms and technology companies. According to Cauchy, the vision is to create an inclusive ecosystem and accelerate the play of the ecosystem through greater participation by everyone in the digital economy.

The future-ready ONDC project reimagines the e-commerce paradigm, where buyers and sellers can meet their unique and individual needs without the overarching control of market giants like Amazon and Flipkart, who determine the behavior of buyers and sellers and the game of algorithm-driven reward systems.

Such a robust rethinking of the e-commerce landscape will address two major challenges: stimulating an inclusive digital economy and empowering micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

He explained: “ONDC provides an opportunity for broad participation in the digital economy for bankers, telecommunications companies, etc. who have a large number of digital consumers, and who until now have not been able to expand the reach of these digital consumers because they did not have permanent sellers. Thus, it is an opportunity for them to offer more services. If you look at the industry, they only had a handful of options for digital commerce, at the mercy of one or two organizations that run the market in a certain way.”

However, ONDC, touted as a revolutionary idea by none other than “India’s CTO” Nandan Nilekani, remains a new idea and needs a lot of “evangelization” to ensure it becomes ready for adoption by the wider public. people from banking to the telecommunications industries, among other things, Koshy said.

He outlined a roadmap in which “…they all become collaborators and accomplices, because when you have a solution that will help win a lot of people, winning this game will benefit everyone.”

While ONDC strives to find solutions to the lack of market access for small and medium-sized businesses, the reality, in his opinion, is that not everyone is equally able to digitally take advantage of the opportunities provided by ONDC. Thus, the challenge is to achieve a certain level of digital readiness through various initiatives aimed at small businesses and to reach the threshold through the acquisition of early adopters.

“If the ONDC model succeeds, then I believe that anyone who has a product or service to sell will make it digitally visible to the open web, and then different kinds of buying platforms that represent different types of buyers will try to help them. So it will be just an action, a natural continuation… My ultimate goal and dream is for our country to become a benchmark for the world,” Koshy said, finishing his thoughts on the future and laying the foundations for a breakthrough in digital commerce.