ONDC seeks public comments on 24 issues to strengthen its network

The government entity looks towards democratising e-commerce in India in order to build trust among participants, said sources

October 03, 2022 04:48 am | Updated 09:29 am IST - NEW DELHI

Picture used for representational purposes only.

Picture used for representational purposes only.

The Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a government entity to democratise e-commerce in India, has sought public comments on 24 issues pertaining to payments, fulfilment of orders, refunds and cancellations to build trust among network participants.

ONDC floated a consultation paper to seek views on steps it had taken to build trust so that more and more participants (buyer apps, sellers apps, payment gateways and delivery apps) could take advantage of the fast-growing e-commerce sector.

"This is an open consultation. The last date for submitting responses is 31st October 2022," the 43-page paper titled — Public Consultation: Building Trust in the ONDC Network, said.

The questions pertained to search and discovery, placing an order, fulfilment of an order, payment and settlement, returns, refunds and cancellations, grievance management, enforcement and compliance, and community governance.

“The 24 questions”

It listed 24 questions, including— what more could ONDC do to make the process of search and discovery fair for both the buyer and seller; what the disclosures were, other than prices/ fees/ charges that were necessary to be made to the buyer; what the concerns were around the linked orders and on-network logistics that it should be aware of; what the gaps or issues in the proposed approach to returns, refunds and cancellations were; and what mechanisms could ONDC and network participants put in place to avoid issues related to returns, refunds and cancellations from escalating into disputes.

Besides, the network also sought views on what mechanisms could ONDC and Network Participants put in place to avoid issues from being escalated into disputes in the first place; what the challenges in implementing were and getting redressal from the system being designed by ONDC; and how could ONDC streamline policy compliance monitoring and enforcement without centralising responsibilities and power within itself.

“Trust in any system of commerce is essential for potential buyers and sellers to actually be willing to transact,” it said, adding that ONDC’s aim was to build an open, interoperable network on which buyers and sellers could transact without needing to be present on the same platform.

In the consultation paper, it outlined the efforts taken by the ONDC to build trust among the buyers and sellers.

"The goal of this paper is to invite feedback on how ONDC can improve trust in the ONDC network," the paper noted.

ONDC has formulated a network policy, protocol specification, and a transaction level contact for network participants.  "ONDC uses these three levers to ensure Network Participants conform to a certain standard of good behaviour and to create binding contracts between parties," it added.

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