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Piyush Goyal Promotes Open eCommerce Network by Launching ‘Grand Hackathon’

According to the Minister, the welfare of farmers and doubling their income has been a top priority for this government. The more we enable our farmers to gain access to farm inputs and connect with markets through technology and innovation, the faster economic growth will be possible, according to the Minister.

Shivam Dwivedi
Launch of ‘Grand Hackathon’ on Agriculture Domain
Launch of ‘Grand Hackathon’ on Agriculture Domain

Union Minister Piyush Goyal today virtually launched a three-day "Grand Hackathon" organised by the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) in collaboration with NABARD. The physical event was held at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Fort, Mumbai, and this was a hybrid event.

The "Grand Hackathon" is divided into two categories: Agri Grant Challenge and Agri Innovation Hackathon, which will showcase innovations to help the agricultural sector adopt eCommerce.

"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," said Goyal. It may appear to be a small step today, but in the long run, it will empower our farmers across the country, he added. Early indications suggest that this will be a game-changer not only for India, but also for the way e-commerce works globally, he said.

"In the future, I hope that 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," the Minister added.

According to the Minister, the welfare of farmers and doubling their income has been a top priority for this government. The more we enable our farmers to gain access to farm inputs and connect with markets through technology and innovation, the faster economic growth will be possible, according to the Minister.

Notably, ONDC is a Government of India initiative that aims to create an open network for buyers and sellers in order to democratize the country's current e-commerce ecosystem. It is also critical in democratizing the agri-value chain and ensuring the agri sector's digital transformation, as stated by Goyal. With NABARD's active support, ONDC will be able to bring the entire farm value chain online, particularly FPOs, mandis, processors, exporters, MSMEs and small retailers, stated Goyal.

"I believe ONDC will help small sellers, traders, and our farmers participate in the market on an equal footing as large players can," the Minister said of ONDC. This will remove the barriers that have prevented small players from reaping the benefits of digital technology, he claims. “We will be able to see a marketplace revolution as ONDC builds interoperability of various platforms, as it helps consumers get a greater choice of products near their place of stay, different modes of logistics and payment, he added. He also stated that ONDC will eliminate many malpractices, such as algorithms, which are frequently used by bigtechs to literally force consumers to choose one supplier over another. This will help save mom-and-pop shops and small retail businesses, thereby protecting the livelihoods of millions of our brothers and sisters," said the Minister.

Smaller players who join any platform will be able to service any buyer across all platforms linked by the ONDC network, he explained. The Union Commerce Minister has suggested to ONDC that they look into local and regional languages so that more people can use digital e-commerce services comfortably.

The "Grand Hackathon" is expected to attract 700 participants who will delve deep into hackathon challenges and technical requirements, solving them for large-scale future applications. 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 untapped potential and benefit the farming community and Agri ecosystem, as well as assist state governments in realizing their goal of promoting local agricultural products on a national level.

It intends to bring together various agricultural stakeholders, such as individuals, organizations, and promising start-ups, for a single accelerator activity.

NABARD Chairman Dr. G. R. Chintala, MD & CEO of ONDC T. Koshy, and Additional Secretary for DPIIT Anil Agarwal were among those present at the launch.

The flagship event is supported by a number of well-known national initiatives/organizations, including Start-Up India, the Atal Innovation Mission, Beckn, and Protean. NABARD is widely regarded as a trailblazer in promoting empowered and financially inclusive rural India, and it has stepped forward to make this event a success. Similarly, Start-Up India in collaboration with AIM assisted with event promotion in order to increase participation.

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