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ONDC Sabbatical Program

ONDC Sabbatical Program

he Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is embarking on a transformative journey that will revolutionize the way digital commerce functions. This ambitious undertaking is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and a Section 8 Company. This company, comprising around 18 banks and financial institutions from both the private and public sectors, has been established to provide the necessary flexibility and agility of a private entity. Notable investors in ONDC include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, IDFC First Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, NABARD, SIDBI, BSE, NSE, CDSL, Protean, NPCI, QCI, and CSC SPV.

Talents Meets Oppurtunity

To ensure the success of the project, DPIIT has formed an advisory council consisting of distinguished personalities such as Nandan Nilekani, R S Sharma, Adil Zainulbhai, Anjali Bansal, Dilip Asbe, Suresh Sethi, Arvind Gupta, Kumar Rajagopalan, and Anil Agarwal.

Over the past few months, ONDC has demonstrated the cascading of transactions across multiple entities. Presently, approximately 80 entities are at various stages of technology adoption to become part of the network, with a soft launch planned for April 2022. The widespread adoption of this network by buyers and sellers across the country, encompassing a diverse range of complementary services, is crucial for its success. Many industry participants who have recognized the potential of this emerging network have eagerly connected with ONDC to actively contribute to this journey.

To further foster collaborative development, ONDC now introduces a sabbatical program, as outlined in this document. This program invites talented individuals in fields such as technology, law, policy, marketing, social science, information security, and administration to join the ONDC team on secondment. Participants in the program, known as “ONDC Change Makers,” will have the opportunity to contribute to specific projects and themes across various tracks curated by ONDC. The duration of the program can range from 12 to 24 months, allowing individuals to immerse themselves in this exciting initiative.

What is ONDC?

ONDC, which stands for Open Network for Digital Commerce, is a pioneering initiative in India that aims to transform and revolutionize the digital commerce landscape. It is a unique and open network built on open protocols and open-source specifications, allowing various players in the digital commerce ecosystem to participate through multiple gateways.

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ONDC Objectives

The key objectives of ONDC are as follows:

  • Facilitate scalable and widespread adoption of digital commerce, making it accessible to the entire population.
  • Promote interoperability among different platforms and software applications to create an inclusive and competitive marketplace.
  • Establish a public digital infrastructure that enables industry participants to develop and offer a wide range of services.
  • Foster a small-business-friendly environment in digital commerce.
  • Unlock innovation and reimagine the future of digital commerce.
  • Drive rapid digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and ensure equal ease and convenience of digital commerce adoption for both rural and urban consumers.

ONDC serves as a network that allows location-aware, local e-commerce stores from various industries to be discovered and engaged through network-enabled applications. It is not a super aggregator app or a hosting platform. Existing e-commerce apps and platforms can choose to join the ONDC network voluntarily. The responsibility for onboarding sellers and buyers, as well as managing the end-to-end order lifecycle, remains with the network-enabled applications.

ONDC Goals

ONDC has set ambitious targets for national-level adoption of the network. These targets include: 

I. Onboarding buyers and sellers from every pin code in India onto the ONDC network. 

II. Bringing 300 million shoppers onto the ONDC network through diverse buyer-side platforms by the end of 2024. 

III. Bringing 30 million sellers (seller catalogues) onto the ONDC network through hundreds of seller-side platforms by the end of 2024. 

IV. Generating an average of 300 million orders per month on the ONDC network by the end of 2024.

Why you should join ONDC?

Joining the ONDC program offers several benefits and opportunities, including: 

I. Becoming an “ONDC Change Maker” and participating in the country’s largest population-scale digital transformation. 

II. Being part of a team that pioneers a new model of commerce across sectors such as retail, travel & tourism, agriculture, and logistics. 

III. Engaging in diverse and complex problem-solving related to policy, strategy, marketing, ecosystem building, technology, information security, and capacity building. 

IV. Working with a team of experienced change agents who have successfully implemented population-scale solutions in various sectors. 

V. Making a meaningful impact by building foundational digital infrastructure, leveraging cutting-edge technologies, and leaving a lasting legacy. 

VI. Leading the way in defining and implementing an innovative and unprecedented concept. 

VII. Engaging in meaningful work with support and supervision from the ONDC team.

Scope of participation in ONDC

The scope of participation in the program includes:

I. Professionals with expertise and experience in digital transformation, protocol development, retail commerce, business process design, change management, communication strategy, and user experience design. 

II. Professionals can join the program after undergoing a well-defined assessment by the ONDC Program Management team. 

III. The duration of the sabbatical period for the participating professionals typically ranges from 12 to 24 months, with a minimum of six months. 

IV. They may operate primarily from locations guided by ONDC.

Interested organizations can nominate a maximum of five resources to the program, subject to certain conditions. 

1. The participating professionals remain employees of their parent organizations but are seconded to work full-time on ONDC. 

2. ONDC manages the work charter for the employees during the program period. 

3. In case of an employee’s exit from the parent organization, the employer must notify ONDC and follow the exit process outlined by ONDC. 

4. The parent organization must maintain independence and declare no conflict of interest when conducting business with ONDC while associating their employees with the program.

5. During their tenure, professionals participating in the ONDC program are required to adhere to ONDC’s policies and guidelines. They will be issued an ONDC email ID for all project-related communication.

V. In certain cases, ONDC may assign job titles to professionals who have specific responsibilities and interact with third parties. These titles will reflect their work and enable them to represent ONDC to fulfill their duties.

VI. Organizations interested in participating should submit the details of their resources to with the subject title “Sabbatical Program.” The submission should include the CV of each professional and a covering letter from the organization endorsing their participation.

Professionals are bound by ONDC’s conflict of interest and non-disclosure agreement policies. They are required to execute a declaration of no conflict of interest and a non-disclosure agreement with ONDC.

Remuneration and benefits

  • Remuneration for the professionals’ volunteering efforts will not be provided by ONDC.
  • They will continue to receive their pay and benefits from their parent organization during the sabbatical. 
  • Travel and out-of-pocket expenses incurred for ONDC’s business activities will be reimbursed according to defined policies.

.Rewards and Recognition

  • ONDC may provide a certificate signed by the CEO to acknowledge the voluntary services rendered by professionals. 
  • Additionally, a reward and recognition program may be implemented based on the professionals’ performance as determined by ONDC. 
  • The contribution of participating entities will be recognized and acknowledged.
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  • Termination of the relationship between the professional and ONDC may occur under certain circumstances. 
  • ONDC may disengage professionals if their services are no longer required, and professionals may provide four weeks’ prior notice if they decide to disengage.
  • Upon termination, professionals must return any papers, equipment, or tangible assets provided by ONDC, including badges or ID cards.

Code of Conduct

  • Professionals onboarded by ONDC are expected to follow a code of conduct, including adherence to company policies and confidentiality protocols. 
  • They are not considered official representatives of ONDC unless specifically authorized. 
  • Professionals may present their work to academic bodies and conferences with prior written permission, ensuring no disclosure of confidential information.
  • Work plans and schedules should be developed in consultation with ONDC officials, and professionals should comply with them. 
  • Any intellectual property created during the engagement with ONDC will belong to ONDC. 
  • Professionals with access to sensitive or confidential information must abide by ONDC’s information security and privacy policies.
  • Before leaving ONDC, professionals are required to submit a report of their work unless waived by ONDC. 
  • They should conduct themselves professionally and adhere to a code of conduct that promotes a positive environment. 
  • Instances of unacceptable behavior can be reported to

Power to Remove Difficulties

ONDC has the power to resolve any difficulties that arise during the implementation of these guidelines.

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Sunil Kumar Sah @DigitalSunilSah 

Sunil is an E-commerce Seller, Blogger, YouTuber and Digital Marketer. He is a digital enthusiast and passionate about Online Selling. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences on eCommerce in this blog and on his Hindi YouTube Channel “Ecommerce with Sunil” and the English Channel “Ecomsprint

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