The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has begun the process of blocking 138 betting apps and 94 loan apps, many with Chinese ties.
The move came after India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directed MeitY to ban these predatory apps offering unauthorised loans on an “urgent and emergency” basis to protect the country’s integrity.
Last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was directed by the Finance Ministry to create a list of legal lending apps, which will be allowed to be hosted on the app stores. Any non-banking financial institution found guilty of money laundering will get its license revoked. The government’s new digital lending guidelines require these loan apps to offer more transparency to the customers and provide disclosures for annual loan rates — putting an end to unethical recovery practices.
The government’s latest app ban hopes to tackle the growing menace of predatory lending apps downloaded by tens of thousands of unsuspecting people in the country who can’t get loans from banks due to poor credit scores or poor knowledge. These people are then subjected to heavy interest rates and unethical recovery — including intimidation, harassment — that has led to several such individuals committing suicide or, in some cases, turning to law enforcement.
Similarly, dozens of illegally operated betting apps have also cropped up on the app stores, most of which operate offshore to save on taxes and escape prosecution, as most of these are running a scam. Blocking these apps from working in India will protect the citizens’ financial interests and prevent misuse of their data.
Rising tensions over border disputes between India and China have led to over 200 Chinese app bans in the country, including popular ones like Tiktok, Wechat, UC Browser, Pubg, Free Fire, among dozens of others.
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