01 July 2022, New Delhi: A three-day “Grand Hackathon” organized by the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) in collaboration with NABARD, has been launched virtually by Union Minister Piyush Goyal today. This was a hybrid event with the physical event held at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Fort, Mumbai. The “Grand Hackathon”, is subdivided into two categories; Agri Grant Challenge and Agri Innovation Hackathon that will showcase the innovations to aid the adoption of eCommerce in the agricultural sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Goyal said, “The ONDC-NABARD Grand Hackathon being launched today will serve as a springboard for start-ups to partner with ONDC and innovate solutions for some of the most pressing challenges in the agri-sector”. It may seem like a small step today, but going forward, this will empower our farmers across the country, he added. Early indications are that this will probably become a game changer not only for India, but possibly for the way e-commerce works across the world, he stated.
“Going forward, I do hope, this model can transform the story of Aatmanirbhar India, the story of India becoming a prosperous nation in the Amrit Kaal – the next 25 years, as we move towards India@100”, further said the Minister.
The Minister said, farmers’ welfare and doubling their income has been a top priority for this Government. The more we enable our farmers to get access to farm inputs, get connected with markets using technology and innovation, we will be able to look at faster economic growth, said the Minister.
Notably, ONDC is a Government of India initiative that aims to build an open network for buyers and sellers to democratise the current e-commerce ecosystem in the country. It is also very crucial in democratizing the agri-value chain and ensuring the digital transformation of agri sector, as was stated by Mr. Goyal. With active support from NABARD, ONDC will be able to on-board the entire farm value chain, bring them on to e-commerce, particularly the FPOs, mandis, processors, exporters, MSMEs and the small retailers, stated Mr. Goyal.
Speaking about ONDC, the Minister said, “I do believe ONDC will help small sellers, traders and our farmers participate in the market with an equal footing as large players are able to participate”. This will break the barrier of limitations of small players to enjoy the fruits of digital technology, he said. As ONDC builds up inter-operability of various platforms, as it helps consumers get greater choice of products near their place of stay, different modes of logistics and payment, we will be able to see a revolution of sorts in marketplace, he added. He further said that ONDC will also eliminate a lot of malpractices like algorithms that are often used by bigtechs who literally force consumers to certain suppliers over others. “This will help save the mom-n-pop stores, small retails, thereby protecting the livelihood of crores of our brothers and sisters”, said the Minister. Smaller players getting onto any platform will be able to service any buyer in all platforms inter-connected through the ONDC network, he explained.
A suggestion from the Union Commerce Minister to ONDC is to look at local languages and regional languages at ONDC so that more and more people can comfortably use the services of digital e-commerce.
The “Grand Hackathon” is expected to see 700 participants that will deep-dive into hackathon challenges, technical requirements, and solve them for large-scale future application. As one of the first drives, the focus of this event is on the agricultural domain, solving for agri domain needs that will help tap its unexplored potential and benefit the farming community and Agri ecosystem and help state governments realise their goal of promoting their local agricultural products at a national level. It plans to bring various agricultural stakeholders, including individuals, organisations and promising start-ups, onto one accelerator activity.
Dignitaries present at the launch included NABARD Chairman Dr. G. R. Chintala, MD & CEO of ONDC T. Koshy and Additional secretary for DPIIT Mr. Anil Agarwal among others.
The flagship event is backed by many credited national initiatives/organisations like Start-Up India, Atal Innovation Mission, Beckn & Protean. NABARD is widely recognised as a pioneer organisation for promoting empowered and financially inclusive Rural India and has stepped forward to big this event impactful. Similarly, Start-Up India with AIM assisted with the event promotion to ensure increased participation.
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