Introduction to ONDC Network Policy

E-commerce has traditionally operated under the platform model, where a central entity controls the entire value chain, including customer acquisition, buyer experience management, vendor onboarding, order-flow management, fulfillment and logistics, payment collection, and grievance redressal. In contrast, the ONDC Network adopts a decentralized model, unbundling various e-commerce functions such that distinct entities can perform these functions. The simplified graphic below illustrates the governance structure on the ONDC Network.

 

 

Legal Relationships on the ONDC Network:

In an individual transaction on the ONDC Network, the buyer and seller are bound by the terms outlined in the sale, and the title for the goods is transferred from the seller to the buyer through the invoice. Key legal relationships include:

  • Buyer and Seller: Bound by the terms of the sale, with the title transfer of goods or services provided through the invoice.
  • Buyer and Buyer App: A persistent legal relationship exists between the buyer and their Buyer App, established when the buyer agrees to the terms while signing up on the Buyer App.
  • Seller and Seller App: A persistent legal relationship exists between the seller and their Seller App, established when the seller signs up on the Seller App.
  • Buyer App and Seller App: A legal relationship is established through the Transaction-level Contract to facilitate the specific transaction between the buyer and seller.
  • Buyer App and Seller App with ONDC: They only have a persistent legal relationship with ONDC through the Network Participant Agreement and ONDC Network Policy. More information about the Network Participant Agreement is available here

Guiding Principles of the Network Policy:

 

ONDC Network Policy is crafted to ensure openness and transparency for all parties engaging within the ONDC Network. The policy outlines essential obligations, specifying how entities signing the Network Participant Agreement should conduct themselves when interacting or conducting business with other participants on the network. Detailed expectations are delineated in each chapter of the Network Policy that are arranged thematically. The Policy is based on the following fundamental principles that all Network Participants must uphold in their conduct on the ONDC Network. Network Participants must:

  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Act in the best interests of End Users and the Network.
  • Cooperate and coordinate with other Network Participants to resolve buyer or seller complaints in a timely manner.
  • Ensure confidentiality and user privacy in transactions.
  • Prohibit the use of their app for illegal or unlawful content.
  • Conduct in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory behavior and not provide preferential treatment to one participant over others in the same situation.
  • Maintain transparency when interacting with End Users and other Network Participants.

Chapters of the ONDC Network Policy

 

As stated before, the ONDC Network Policy has been created and arranged thematically by Chapters that cover the specific aspects of the ONDC Network and transactions conducted through it. We have given, below, a broad overview of the individual chapters, along with the link to the respective policy documents.

Definitions

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This page contains the glossary of all the terms and their respective definitions used throughout the ONDC Network Policies

 

Chapter 1: Onboarding, compliance requirements and certification requirements

The Onboarding Policy gives information to a prospective Network Participant how to join the Network. It specifies the eligibility conditions for Network Participants to join and operate on the Network, as well as the actual process and compliance requirements to join the Network. The requirements have been broadly categorised based on the functional role (Seller Side Apps, Buyer Side Apps or Gateways) a Network Participant intends to play on the Network.

Chapter 2: Business Rules

This Chapter delineates the roles and responsibilities of the different categories of Network Participants viz. - Buyer Nodes, Marketplace Seller Nodes, Inventory Seller Nodes and Gateways. This Chapter specifies how Network Participants need to align with existing laws and regulations, and prescribes how some of the processes and systems the Network Participants need to set up to encourage healthy competition and to ensure entities participating in the Network are treated in a non-discriminatory manner.

Chapter 3: Commercial Model

The Chapter on Commercial Model defines the commission structure and various commercial components for a transaction on the Network. The aim of this chapter is to ensure that the various commercial terms of a transaction between Network Participants are in line with ONDC’s commitment to transparency, fairness and consumer protection.

Chapter 4: Code of Conduct and Ethics

Code of Conduct and Ethics prescribes general rules regarding good behaviour that are essential for the health and integrity of the ONDC Network. This includes forbidding Network Participants from engaging in bribery, mandating them to protect confidential information, avoiding conflicts of interest, and ensuring Network Participants or their affiliates do not engage in behaviour that can harm other Network Participants or the ONDC Network.

Chapter 5: Branding Guidelines

The Chapter on Branding Guidelines lays down the terms and conditions for the use of ONDC’s logo, trade name and trademarks by Network Participants and other related entities. The Branding Guidelines specify how and for what purpose the aforementioned intellectual property may be used, and also prescribes the specifications to be followed to use it.

Chapter 6: Issue and Grievance Management Policy

The Chapter on Issue and Grievance Management lays down the mechanisms for Network Participants to manage and resolve grievances filed against them by Buyers, Sellers and other Network Participants.

Chapter 7: Network Data Governance Policy

This Chapter lays down the obligations of Network Participants with respect to protection of private and personal information.

Chapter 8: Network Technology Governance

This Chapter lays down a framework for audits and certifications that will allow ONDC to ensure that Network Participants comply with all prescribed technical standards, the Network Policy and operational parameters.

Chapter 9: Governance and Disciplinary Policy

Coming Soon

 

"For any questions or clarifications on the ONDC Network Policy or to submit any feedback, please write to [email protected]. Please mention '[NETWORK POLICY]' in the subject line. It will allow us to respond faster."

 

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