Open Network For Digital Commerce


The government of India announced the launch of the pilot phase of open network for digital commerce (ONDC) in five cities in late April with an aim to “democratise” the country’s fast growing digital e-commerce space that is currently dominated by the two U.S.-headquartered firms — Amazon and Walmart.


GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is ONDC?
  2. What led to formation of ONDC?
  3. What is the current status?
  4. What are the likely benefits of ONDC?

What is ONDC?

  • It is a not-for-profit organisation that will offer a network to enable local digital commerce stores across industries to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled applications.
  • It is neither an aggregator application nor a hosting platform, and all existing digital commerce applications and platforms can voluntarily choose to adopt and be a part of the ONDC network.
  • The ONDC model is trying to replicate the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the field of digital payments.
  • UPI allows people to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms they are registered on.
  • The open network concept also extends beyond the retail sector, to any digital commerce domains including wholesale, mobility, food delivery, logistics, travel, urban services, etc.
The main aims of ONDC are to:
  • Promote open-source methodology, using open specifications and
  • Promote open network protocols independent of any specific platform
  • Digitise value chains,
  • Promote inclusion of suppliers,
  • Standardize operations,
  • Derive efficiencies in logistics
  • Enhance value for consumers.


  • Currently, a buyer needs to go to Amazon, for example, to buy a product from a seller on Amazon.
  • Under ONDC, it is envisaged that a buyer registered on one participating e-commerce site (for example, Amazon) may purchase goods from a seller on another participating e-commerce site (for example, Flipkart).

What led to the formation of ONDC?

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under Ministry of Commerce and Industries, conducted an outreach during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on small sellers and hyperlocal supply chain functioning.
  • Post which, it found that there is a huge disconnect between the scale of online demand and the ability of the local retail ecosystem to participate.
  • Following this, consultations were held with multiple ministries and industry experts and “ONDC was envisioned to revolutionise digital commerce in India,” as per the strategy paper.

What is the current status?

  • Presently, ONDC is in its pilot stage in five cities — Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong and Coimbatore — with a target of onboarding around 150 retailers.
  • The government has also constituted an advisory council to analyse the potential of ONDC as a concept and to advise the government on measures needed to accelerate its adoption.
  • Over the next five years, the ONDC expects to bring on board 90 crore users and 12 lakh sellers on the network, enabling 730 crore additional purchases and an additional gross merchandising value (GMV) of ₹3.75 crore.
  • The GMV for the digital commerce retail market in India was ₹2.85 lakh crore ($38 billion) in 2020, which is only 4.3% of the total retail GMV in India.

What are the likely benefits of ONDC?

  • The ONDC will standardise operations like cataloguing, inventory management, order management and order fulfilment, hence making it simpler and easier for small businesses to be discoverable over network and conduct business.
  • However, experts have pointed out some likely potential issues such as getting enough number of e-commerce platforms to sign up, along with issues related to customer service and payment integration.

Snake Island


Ukraine has said it has caused “significant losses” to the Russian military in airstrikes on Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake Island, in the Black Sea.


GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Snake Island
  2. About the Black Sea
  3. Russia and the Black Sea
  4. Black Sea in the Ukraine war

About Snake Island

  • Zmiinyi Island, also known as Snake or Serpent Island, is a small piece of rock less than 700 metres from end to end, that has been described as being “X-shaped”.
  • It is located 35 km from the coast in the Black Sea, to the east of the mouth of the Danube and roughly southwest of the port city of Odessa.
  • The island, which has been known since ancient times and is marked on the map by the tiny village of Bile that is located on it, belongs to Ukraine.
  • On February 24, the day Russia launched its invasion, two warships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Vasily Bykov and Moskva, attacked Snake Island, followed by Russian troops landing on it.
  • Ukraine has claimed to have launched several attacks on the Russian occupiers of Snake Island even before the latest ongoing operation.
  • Recently, Ukraine said it had sunk a Russian naval tug called Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was delivering personnel and military supplies to the island.
  • Earlier in April, it had sunk the Moskva, the 600-foot flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, which had attacked the island on day 1 of the war.

About the Black Sea

  • The Black Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia; east of the Balkans (Southeast Europe), south of the East European Plain in Eastern Europe, west of the Caucasus, and north of Anatolia in Western Asia.
  • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
  • The Black Sea ultimately drains into the Mediterranean Sea, via the Turkish Straits and the Aegean Sea.
  • The Bosporus Strait connects it to the small Sea of Marmara which in turn is connected to the Aegean Sea via the Strait of the Dardanelles. To the north, the Black Sea is connected to the Sea of Azov by the Kerch Strait.

Russia and the Black Sea

  • The famed water body bound by Ukraine to the north and northwest, Russia and Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west, which links to the Sea of Marmara through the Bosphorus and then to the Aegean through the Dardanelles, has traditionally been Russia’s warm water gateway to Europe.
  • For Russia, the Black Sea is both a stepping stone to the Mediterranean as well as a strategic buffer between NATO and itself.
  • Domination of the Black Sea region is a geostrategic imperative for Moscow, both to project Russian power in the Mediterranean and to secure the economic gateway to key markets in southern Europe.

Black Sea in the Ukraine war

  • Russia has been making efforts to gain complete control over the Black Sea since the Crimean crisis of 2014.
  • During the ongoing invasion, the domination of the Black Sea has been a major Russian objective, along with the land bridge to connect Russia and Crimea.
  • As such, there have been intense efforts to capture Mariupol, the Sea of Azov port in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian oblast of Donetsk.

Drug Resistant Typhoid


According to a study published in The Lancet Microbe journal, the bacteria that cause typhoid fever are growing more and more resistant to some of the most popular antibiotics.

  • Each year, typhoid fever results in about 100,000 fatalities and 11 million infections. South Asia accounts for 70% of the global disease burden.


GS II- Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About  Typhoid
  2. About Drug Resistance

About Typhoid:

  • Typhoid fever is a life-threatening systemic infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (commonly known as Salmonella Typhi) carried only by humans – no other animal carrier has been found.
  • Transmission:
  • Typhoid fever is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, through ingestion of contaminated food or water.
  • Without treatment, about one person in 20 who recovers from typhoid becomes a ‘carrier’. 
  • Despite having no symptoms of illness, they have bacteria in their faeces and urine, and can infect others for a period of about three months (sometimes up to one year).
  • Travellers are at high risk of developing typhoid fever in many typhoid endemic countries. This includes parts of Asia (especially India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the Middle East.


  • Symptoms and signs of typhoid range from mild to severe, can last for about one month without treatment, and may include: fever, fatigue or tiredness, malaise (general feeling of unwellness), sore throat, persistent cough, headache.


Typhoid fever requires prompt treatment with antibiotics.

About Drug Resistance

  • The advent of drug-resistant strains of bacteria threatens the efficacy of medicines for treating typhoid fever.
  • Because antibiotics or other medications intended to kill these bacteria no longer work on resistant strains of bacteria, they can spread quickly and endanger public health.
  • Since 2000, multi-drug-resistant (MDR) typhoid has declined steadily in Bangladesh and India, remained low in Nepal, and increased slightly in Pakistan.
  • However, these are being replaced by strains resistant to other antibiotics, according to the study conducted by researchers from Stanford University, Christian Medical College Vellore and other institutions.

About Multi drug resistance

  • Multiple drug resistance (MDR), multidrug resistance or multi-resistance is antimicrobial resistance shown by a species of microorganism to multiple antimicrobial drugs.
  • The types most threatening to public health are MDR bacteria that resist multiple antibiotics; other types include MDR viruses, parasites (resistant to multiple antifungals, antiviral, and antiparasitic drugs of a wide chemical variety).
  • Recognizing different degrees of MDR, the terms extensively drug resistant (XDR) and pandrug-resistant (PDR) have been introduced.

Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project


Environmental groups in Karnataka have criticised the project to link the Bedti and Varada rivers in Karnataka, calling it ‘unscientific’ and a ‘waste of public money’.


GS III- Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project
  2. Why is the project distasteful to activists?
  3. Interlinking of Rivers

Bedti-Varada Interlinking Project

  • The country’s major rivers project, conceived by the then-PM Vajpayee government, also included the Bedti-Aghanashini-Varade river-linking project.
  • In 2002, the Central Government established a task team to develop action plans for connecting the riverbeds.
  • It was recommended that the project be started in 2016 once the project’s cost and funding sources were determined.
  • The Bedti-Varada project was envisaged in 1992 as one to supply drinking water by the then government.
  • The plan aims to link the Bedti, a river flowing west into the Arabian Sea, with the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra river, which flows into the Krishna, which in turn flows into the Bay of Bengal.
  • A massive dam will be erected at Hirevadatti in Gadag district under the project. A second dam will be built on the Pattanahalla river at Menasagoda in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district.
  • Both dams will take water to the Varada via tunnels of length 6.3 kilometres and 2.2-km. The water will reach at a place called Kengre.
  • It will then go down a 6.88 km tunnel to Hakkalumane, where it will join the Varada.
  • The project thus envisages taking water from the water surplus Sirsi-Yellapura region of Uttara Kannada district to the arid Raichur, Gadag and Koppal districts.

Why is the project distasteful to activists?

  • The Bedti, a river that runs west into the Arabian Sea, and the Varada, a tributary of the Tungabhadra River that empties into the Krishna, which empties into the Bay of Bengal, are intended to be connected by the proposal.
  • The project, according to the protestors, won’t guarantee water to the locations that are supposed to benefit from it.
  • Only the contractors, cement, iron, and granite industries and political lobbying organisations would gain from it.

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

It has been split into three parts as follows:

  • A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
  • A southern peninsular component.
  • An Intra-State river linking component.

Keibul Lamjao National Park


Activists surrounding the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in Manipur have now taken up the cudgels to ensure that the government does not shift the proposed heritage park from the approved site.


GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP)
  2. Key details

Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP)

  • The KLNP is a national park in the Indian state of Manipur’s Bishnupur district.
  • It is the only floating park in the world, covering an area of 40 km2, and is a crucial component of Loktak Lake in North East India.
  • The national park is characterized by floating decomposed plant material locally called Phumdi at the south–eastern side of the Loktak Lake, which has been declared a Ramsar site.
  • It was established in 1966 as a wildlife sanctuary to protect the Eld’s deer’s natural habitat, which is in risk of extinction.
  • It was declared a national park in 1977.

Key details

  • The last remaining brow-antlered deer (Rucervus eldii eldii), one of the most endangered species in the world, could be found in KLNP.
  • Locally, it is known as Sangai.
  • The majority of phumdis, or floating swamps, cannot support the animal’s weight, therefore it is actually in danger of losing its habitat.
  • It was thought to be extinct in 1951, but naturalist and British tea grower Edward Pritchard Gee found it in 1953.

Sao Joao Festival


As in every monsoon, Catholics in Goa will celebrate Sao Joao, the feast of St John the Baptist.


GS I- Festivals, Prelims

What is Sao Joao ?

  • The celebrations will include revellers sporting crowns made of fruits, flowers and leaves, and the major draw of the feast is the water bodies – wells, ponds, fountains, rivers – in which the revellers take the “leap of joy”. Enjoyed by children and adults alike, the festival also includes playing the traditional gumott (percussion instrument), a boat festival, servings of feni, and a place of pride for new sons-in-law.
  • In Goa, Catholics celebrate all the feasts of the Roman Catholic Church, which include the feast of St John the Baptist on June 24 (John the Baptist because he had baptised Jesus Christ on the river Jordan).
  • In Goa, Sao Joao is an occasion for the family and the villagers to get to know their newly wed daughters’ husbands a little better.
  • Traditionally, the new son-in-law would be crowned with festive headgear of fruits and leaves, taken around the village and would then jump into the well with other revelers.


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