ONDC will lead to democratisation of e-commerce in India: Nandan Nilekani

`Quick comm will be reimagined with this inclusive platform’

April 04, 2023 07:46 pm | Updated 09:14 pm IST - Bengaluru

UIDAI founding chairman Nandan Nilekani

UIDAI founding chairman Nandan Nilekani | Photo Credit: -

ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce) is the next big thing and it will lead to democratisation of e-commerce in India, said Nandan Nilekani, the founding chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and non-executive chairman of Infosys.

Speaking at an event organised by Bengaluru-based digital payments platform PhonePe here on Tuesday, he said, “We are going to democratise e-commerce in India and e-comm won’t be limited to few players. Everyone, every supplier including kirana stores, grocery retailers, electronics retailers, small vendors, and restaurants should participate in the digital marketplace on an open platform.”

At the end of the day, what the country, that already has millions of retailers, small vendors and suppliers, required was an architecture that all including small players would be able to participate in, Mr. Nilekani emphasised.

Quick comm would be reimagined with ONDC, a non-profit Section 8 company established by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade of the Government of India to develop open e-commerce. The government set up 8 to 9 such entities to help create digital public infrastructure at scale, he added.

On the pace of embracing digitisation, Mr. Nilekani said, the country has achieved financial inclusion in 7 to 8 years instead of taking 45 years, and that this was possible because it used Aadhar KYC to open bank accounts. Similarly, when Jio launched in 2016, with a goal of getting 100 million customers in six months, the only way they could onboard a million people a day was through eKYC. All these led to a digital revolution in the country, he elaborated.

The technocrat also said since independence the country had some eight million PoS (point of sale) machines. “But in the last three years, we’ve seen 50 million QR codes being deployed. This is an example of how interoperability can turbocharge payment in India,” he summed up.

Mobility app, Namma Yatri, an offshoot of Juspay, made digital transactions bilateral (between autorickshaw drivers and passengers) and it saw over 20,000 transactions in the last 10 days, he remarked.

‘Pincode’ from PhonePe

Meanwhile, PhonePe launched a new shopping app, “Pincode”, built on top of the ONDC platform. The app would pilot in Bengaluru with grocery, food, pharma, electronics and home decor providers, and would be made available in other cities at a later point.

Sameer Nigam, CEO and founder PhonePe said, “Pincode is a new shopping app that offers a revolutionary new approach to e-commerce, which puts all the local stores and sellers at the heart of the digital shopping growth story. Built on ONDC, it is expected to create new opportunities, for innovation and growth in e-commerce.’‘

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