Remember the time when the Indian government banned several Chinese mobile applications, including TikTok and Shein? This ban was implemented in June 2020 amid concerns over data privacy and security. The government stated that these apps were “Prejudical To The Integrity & Sovereignty Of Our Country.”
The ban on Chinese applications was part of a larger movement to promote self-reliance and safeguard national security. It followed border tensions between India and China and aimed to reduce the presence of Chinese-owned apps in the Indian digital space.
Something quite similar has come into the radar, yet again!
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has ordered app and website hosting companies to provide access to some of the organizations after an ‘abrupt’ suspension on a number of digital lenders.
The change occurred a few days after several fintech executives sought clarification from MeitY representatives and were required to produce numerous pieces of paperwork describing their shareholding structure, compliances, and other details.
Even while app shops and internet service providers were instructed to unblock the websites, apps, or versions on third-party app marketplaces, several of these organizations have since verbally confirmed from the officials that their platforms were being restored.
The fintech sector is in a state of shock as everyone tries to figure out why over 90 lending apps have been banned in India. According to the state-owned broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the Ministry of Electronics and IT’s action is intended to safeguard the country’s integrity and limit China’s market sway in South Asia.
The increasing number of complaints of cybercrimes connected to China is another cause for concern. According to the officials, the Ministry of Home Affairs has received complaints of criminal activity by Chinese companies that are accessing Indian lending apps using APIs and getting and keeping consumer data about Indians outside of India.
Separately, the Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday that India’s Enforcement Directorate, the nation’s anti-money laundering agency, had discovered illegal gains totalling more than $255 million. It said that laundered capital was generated and acquired using “illegal” loan apps.
Initially, people assumed that the ban was to be effective on Chinese players. It is determined to break down over 232 applications. Half of these applications are developed for gambling and betting. However, the industry was left rushing to evaluate its own compliance processes in light of the unexpected move on Monday against PayU’s LazyPay, fintech Kissht, and Indiabulls Home Loans.
The list, which has not yet been made public but a copy of which was reviewed by TechCrunch, also contains variations of KreditBee, TrueBalance, Avail Finance, and mPokket on independent Android marketplaces.
Investigations revealed that server-side security weaknesses might potentially be used for widespread surveillance because these apps have access to crucial information about Indians. Attention was brought to this problem when a number of persons committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after borrowing money from these apps or losing money through betting apps.
The majority of these apps were developed by Chinese nationals who also employed and promoted Indians to business directors. Loans were offered as an incentive by the apps, however, the interest rates were later increased by up to 3,00% annually.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has restricted some apps on the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The action was taken, in accordance with official communication, after it was determined that the apps violate Section 69 of the IT Act because they include “Matters that were harmful to the values and sovereignty of the country”.
MeitY has been reviewing the materials it has received from various platforms over the last few days to determine whether or not the ban was necessary.
We have come to the conclusion that blocking some of these sites is unnecessary, hence some restriction orders are being lifted. The “a few more” platforms in addition to these ones will also be unblocked.
We appreciate the government and MeitY rescinding the prohibition against Kissht. In order to ensure that trustworthy and completely compliant apps like Kissht continue to advance greater financial inclusion in the nation, the government has demonstrated unwavering support.
They have provided services to more than 8 million Indians, and have anticipated providing services to millions in the years to come. Kissht intends to double its customer base by 2023 while continuing to offer hassle-free credit.
According to reports, the Indian government has withdrawn the earlier-issued prohibition on fintech applications like Kissht, KreditBee, and PayU’s LazyPay. The restriction was a result of the Indian government’s campaign against Chinese apps. However, it is unclear why the applications were prohibited.
‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) apps from India like LazyPay and Kissht are among the apps that have been prohibited. As per the Ministry of Home Affairs’ directives, MeitY has issued orders to restrict certain apps. Some of the prohibited apps have connections to China.
Due to violations of laws and rules, Google India has banned over 3,500 personal loan apps from the Play Store. The apps accessed user data, such as contacts and images, unlawfully. Even when it came to other subjects, they did not adhere to the rules.
The recovery of lent funds by a lending app is not unlawful, but Kalaiselvan noted that there is a method for doing so. “The RBI has established rules. They have the option of suing the debtors. But they don’t, since they are aware that what they are doing is against the law.