ONDC to democratize e-commerce and help protect small businesses: Piyush Goyal

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Trade and Industry Trade Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday March 19 that the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) would democratize e-commerce and protect small businesses by giving them equal opportunities, according to a official statement.

Goyal was addressing the fifth edition of the annual ‘Launchpad-The Entrepreneurship Summit’ organized by BITS, Pilani on Saturday.

He applauded the flexible academic structure of BITS that helped innovation during the university years of students and said that it corresponded to a large extent with the new education policy that the government had put in place after extensive consultations.

He asked other colleges to learn from the BITS model and model job creators rather than job seekers.

Make Startups the engine of innovation for the country, Goyal said today that India is the third largest startup ecosystem in the world.

Reiterating that “an idea can change your life”, the Minister spoke of USB innovator Mr. Ajay Bhatt of Vadodara who developed the technology with the aim of making data portable like never before.

Goyal stressed that entrepreneurship is about disruption and change, according to a Commerce Department statement.

Describing the many disruptions that India has witnessed across the board such as the way we buy goods online, access digital healthcare consultations, make payments through UPI, etc., he said that things had fundamentally changed.

Talking about the great strides that India was making in areas like fintech, agritech and markets, Goyal said that PM Modi had given the mantra of IT+IT=IT (Info Technology + Indian Talent = India Tomorrow) for the future of India.

He said that we must aspire to make computing and related industry a trillion dollar industry.

The minister said India is leading in building digital public infrastructure and added that smartphone penetration and low data costs have laid the foundation for large-scale disruptive innovation. With digital infrastructure like IndiaStack, Healthstack, Logistics Stack, CoWIN, the next trillion dollar companies can be established in India, he said.

Goyal said that today, developed countries around the world want to know more about building digital public infrastructure from us.

The scale and pace of digitalization in India is something unheard of and could be the subject of a doctoral dissertation, he added.

Listing the various measures taken by the government in its role as a facilitator to strengthen the ecosystem of startups, such as the Fund of funds for startups, the exemption from income tax for 3 years, the fund program of bootstrapping, reducing the examination period for new trademark registrations, etc., the Minister said that the government, instead of creating obstacles as in the past, actively wanted our young people to think big and dream big.

Highlighting that the winners of the National Startup Award were from
smaller towns like Kochi, Lucknow, Sonipat, the minister said this is proof that the startup ecosystem is democratizing.

He asked aspiring entrepreneurs to increase diversity in startups, explore new ventures, promote agripreneurs (agricultural entrepreneurs), tex-preneurs (textiles), edu-preneurs (education) and to innovate in emerging technologies such as Metaverse, Web 3, AI, 5G and areas such as cybersecurity.

He urged them to think about ways to use these technologies, individually or in convergence, to create new opportunities.

Believing that sustainability and the circular economy are the need of the hour, the Minister said that the sustainability challenge would somehow create the next set of big business ideas to find solutions to climate change, sustainable mobility, water management, etc.

He said he was convinced that the startups of today would be the leaders of tomorrow and called on young entrepreneurs to help this country achieve higher levels of prosperity and meet the aspirations of a billion citizens and more who always seek to be part of our progress and prosperity through profound innovation.

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