India has ordered to ban 232 betting and instant loan apps, with links to China. The move comes amid the government’s crackdown on loan-lending apps.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced it has initiated the process to enforce an emergency order to ban 138 betting and gambling and another 94 lending apps, on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis.
“The @GoI_MeitY has started the process to ban & block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps which reportedly have Chinese links on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis. The move came after a communication from Ministry of Home Affairs,” Prasar Bharti in its tweet said.
The loan apps reportedly mislead customers into taking big debts without explicitly telling them the terms. According to reports, the government found the blocked apps violated Section 69 of the IT Act and contained material that was deemed a threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
Last year in September, the Reserve Bank of India said it will prepare a ‘whitelist’ of loan lending apps to mandate which loan apps will be allowed on app stores in the country. The move is aimed to end the menace of illegal loan apps that use “predatory recovery practices” against people to recover money. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will make sure only these “whitelist” apps are hosted on app stores
RBI has also introduced strict rules for digital lending firms last year, asking firms to provide more transparency and control to customers. Following the new rules, lenders can’t increase a customer’s credit limit without obtaining their consent and are required to disclose the annual loan rate in explicit terms.
Many people have fallen prey to unauthorized applications that provide attractive loan offers, just to harass people when they can’t repay the amount. These companies adopt illegal tactics, including threatening, calling customers’ relatives and friends, and using morphed pictures to blackmail.
From January to September 2022, tech giant Google removed more than 2,000 loan applications from Play Store in India for violating terms, misrepresenting information, and questionable offline behavior. The loan app problem has “peaked”, and may subside given the focus and attention the issue is garnering, Saikat Mitra, Senior Director and Head of Trust and Safety, Google APAC (Asia Pacific region) said.