Architect of world’s largest biometric project reveals he’s helping India curtail Amazon and Walmart’s influence in e-commerce


After contributing to Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric identification system project, Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of software powerhouse Infosys Ltd, is now helping the Narendra Modi-led government build an open technology network that will create level playing field for small traders in India.

The 66-year-old will help provide small traders and consumers with a freely accessible online system where they can buy and sell everything from detergent bars to plane tickets. However, the main purpose of the network would be to limit the growing powers of Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.

The two e-commerce giants have invested $24 billion in India and currently hold 80% of the online retail market. The dominance of these two global giants has made it difficult for small traders to do business through their local kirana stores, which form the backbone of retail in the country.

The government had launched the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) initiative, an online non-profit network, with the aim of curbing the digital monopolies of these e-commerce giants and standardizing the integration of retailers on these platforms. .

Once developed, the platform will allow small merchants and retailers to plug in and gain the reach and economies of scale from e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart.

“We owe it to the millions of small sellers to show an easy way to participate in the new, high-growth area of ​​digital commerce,” Bloomberg said, quoting Nilekani.

The pilot is expected to roll out to five cities next month for select users. Bankers like ICICI Bank Ltd, Punjab National Bank and State Bank of India have invested and hold stakes in the entity, Bloomberg reported.

When approached, Amazon said it was reviewing the model to better understand it and see if the Seattle-based company could contribute in any way. Flipkart has no comment.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

First post: STI


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