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Infosys non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani will join an advisory council set up by the commerce and industry ministry to accelerate the development of an open network for digital commerce (ONDC) designed to curb digital monopolies and standardise the onboarding of retailers on ecommerce platforms.

ONDC is envisioned to bring together all of India’s e-commerce marketplaces on a single network and empower India’s digital revolution. “As UPI is for the digital payment domain, and as HTTP is for data communication on the World Wide Web, the ONDC is intended to become the same for e-commerce in India," Quality Control of India said in a tweet.

The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has initiated the project on ONDC and the task has been assigned to the Quality Council of India (QCI).

“ONDC is expected to digitise the entire value chains, standardize operations, promote inclusion of suppliers, derive efficiencies in logistics and enhance value for consumers," DPIIT said in a statement.

Apart from Nilekani, the other members of the advisory council includes RS Sharma, chief executive officer of National Health Authority; Adil Zainulbhai, chairman QCI and capacity building commission; Anjali Bansal, founder and chairperson of Avaana Capital; Arvind Gupta, co-founder and head, Digital India Foundation; Dilip Asbe, MD and CEO, National Payments Corporation India; Suresh Sethi, MD and CEO, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Ltd; Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, Confederation of All India Traders; and Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India. Anil Agrawal, additional secretary at the DPIIT will be convener of the advisory council.

Recently the government and e-commerce firms have been at loggerheads over the draft e-commerce policy for consumer protection released by the consumer affairs ministry last month. The proposed regulations seek to bring changes to how e-commerce marketplaces, including Amazon and Flipkart, operate after small businesses complained that they misuse market dominance and deep-discounting to gain an unfair advantage. The rules propose to limit so-called ‘flash sales’ of goods and services by e-commerce companies by proposing to ban back-to-back sales that limit customer choice, increase prices and do not provide a level playing field. In July last year, the Centre notified new rules for e-commerce firms, forcing e-tailers to display details on return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, modes of payment, and grievance redressal mechanism, as well as the country of origin.

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