Stakeholders Are Not Investing In ONDC For Profit: Shireesh Joshi

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I do not know any situation in the world where shareholders have access to all business data: Joshi said

He added that no platform has invested in it for profit, but their investments is tantamount to ‘donation

“ONDC itself will not have any of the details of the transaction,” he said

One of the major apprehensions that have persisted around ONDC is why several public and private banks and NPCI invested immensely in the open protocol. Debunking one of the related concerns, ONDC CBO Shireesh Joshi, during The D2C Summit 3.0 stated that whoever invested in the network has not done it for profit but is tantamount to ‘donation’.

The question arose as moderator Ankur Pahwa (managing partner, Capier Investments) posed viewers’ queries on whether ONDC is sharing data with its investors and if it had any protocols in place to ‘prevent’ data transfer.

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“I don’t know if there is anything to prevent. I don’t know why this question even exists,” Joshi said. “I do not know any situation in the world where shareholders have access to all business data, ever, in any situation.”

He added that whoever invested in ONDC, has not done it for profit.

“We are a section 8 company where one cannot sell the stock for capital gains. They have done it knowing that it was a donation. If you have chosen to donate, with no profit motive, what’s the benefit of having access.”

During the session, the ONDC CBO was also firm to say that the seller data rests with the seller applications. “Only necessary data including buyers’ information (for invoice making) is shared between buyer and seller applications. ONDC itself will not have any of the details of the transaction,” he said.

Shireesh’s comment is more in line with what the investors did not have in mind. Thus, despite the comment, the question ‘why did they invest?’ still looms. 

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Before this, he also talked about the novelty of the network and asked users to be ‘patient’.

While UPI-maker NPCI is another not-for-profit organisation, several for-profit companies such as State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank and stock market depository NSDL have also backed the network. ONDC has a total of 20 stakeholders.

It is also noteworthy that ONDC aims to take the single-digit ecommerce penetration within India’s retail segment to nearly 50% in the next five years. It aims to digitise every company that possibly sells any service or product and make every internet platform into a seller of these services. 

Consequently, if successful, ONDC will be one of the largest repositories for Indian businesses. Thus, the data-sharing concern with the investors is a genuine one, but, the redressal of the concern remains to be seen. It is only likely to get clarity once the network is finally public.

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