We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
In one of the important developments in the Indian startup ecosystem, CBDT has issued a consolidated circular consisting of all the clarifications on the tax issues hurting the Indian startups, including the angel tax. These guidelines were issued to ensure that the startups recognised by the departments for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) will not face any action.
In another important development, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) is looking to address systemic risks to unified payments interface (UPI) system to tackle issues of monopoly and dominance of private non-banking players. The government body is planning to impose a cap on the market share and transaction value of private payment entities using UPI. The issue was discussed in a meeting of the UPI steering committee led by the NPCI last week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
NRIs To Get Quick Aadhaar
UIDAI systems are being readied for the facility and necessary legal measures are to be notified soon. Fast-tracking of Aadhaar card to NRI passport holders can provide a much-needed push to the tourism sector of India and could also make the opening of bank accounts easier for NRIs in the country.
From The World Of Fintech
- The data shows that UPI recorded 918.35 Mn transactions in the month, 11.68% growth as compared to 822.29 Mn transactions in July. At the same time, in terms of the value of the transactions, UPI recorded INR 1,54,504.89 Cr worth transactions. This is a 5.54% growth compared to INR 1,46,386.54 Cr in July.
- The government committee has shared a report which suggests a comprehensive legal framework to protect consumers of digital services, as recommended by the steering committee appointed in March 2018.
- RBI has sought the dismissal of the public interest litigation against the Paytm Payments Bank saying it can’t be used as a weapon to challenge the financial or economic decisions taken by the government or the RBI. RBI’s response came after a PIL was filed by Abhijit Mishra before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in May.
IAMAI Views On Health Data, GeMs New Features And More
- IAMAI has reportedly said that the governance of health data of citizens should be put under hold till India’s data protection bill is finalised. All data collected from individuals come under the permit of the Personal Data Protection Bill, which is under consideration by the MeitY. The proposed Consent Management Framework would have to come under the purview of the Data Protection Authority (DPA) under the PDP Bill and the regulations formulated by the DPA for sensitive personal information like healthcare data.
- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) has announced a series of steps to improve the ecommerce platform. The steps include a rating for both buyers and sellers and timely payment for vendors.
- DST will be coming up with a 100-day agenda to develop a competitive agenda. DST will be setting up 15 shared, professionally managed, science and technology infrastructure facility hubs for researchers under its programme called Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institute (SATHI).
- MeitY is now reportedly planning to release a report on the regulation of public data, including data of technology companies such as Uber, Facebook and Amazon. The ministry’s report is expected to let ministries or regulators decide the nature of data that will come under the purview of data protection bill.
- MeitY is planning to relax social media guidelines to ensure freedom of speech and expression over digital platforms. The government, according to reports, has asked the social media platforms to develop an AI-backed mechanism to filter out accounts that upload illegal or inflammatory content or are a threat to national security.
Swiggy May Decide To Cap Commissions
In the aftermath of its meeting with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) last week, Swiggy may decide to cap its commission at 25% to direct maximum profits towards partner restaurants. The move will mean a temporary loss of revenue but would come off as a relief from the nationwide protest against the app and its policies. Currently, restaurants pay nearly 30% more or less off the order value as a commission to Swiggy.
In another development, Swiggy has launched Swiggy Go in Bengaluru. Swiggy Go is an instant pick up and drop service to send packages anywhere in the city, similar to Dunzo.
Amazon To Take On Oriflame, Amway In Supreme Court
Following Delhi High Court’s July order stopping ecommerce companies from selling products of companies such as Amway and Avon without prior permission, Amazon has reportedly appealed in the Supreme Court to challenge the Delhi HC’s order. Amazon is of the opinion that any court order restraining ecommerce platforms to sell specific categories of products might set a precedent for other categories as well.
Government Plans Certification For OTT Platforms
The government plans to meet representatives from OTT platforms, members of civil society, the technical community, media, ISPs and legal experts to discuss the issue even further. I&B minister Prakash Javadekar told a gathering of the film industry and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) members on Saturday (August 31) that the meeting will be organised soon. The video streaming OTT platforms under the scanner include Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Reliance Jio, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Eros Now, lawyers, NGOs, Google and Facebook in the coming days.
From The World Of Ecommerce
- Walmart-owned company Flipkart outlined its vision to eliminate single-use plastic claiming that as of August 1, 2019 it had achieved a 25% reduction in single-use plastic, through various initiatives across its packaging value chain.
- Flipkart launched a Hindi interface for the users who are more comfortable in using the internet in their native language. With this launch, Flipkart plans to make its platform more engaging and inclusive for the estimated 200 Mn customers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities
- Amazon said that it will eliminate single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. The company introduced paper cushions, which will replace plastic dunnage like air pillows and bubble wraps across its fulfilment centers in India.
- Amazon is also looking to foray into offline retail and its stake purchase in Future Coupons last month is a big part of that. The company is in talks with three retail chains — Future Group, retail chain More and Shoppers Stop— to sell a range of Amazon products offline. Amazon is a stakeholder in all three retail store chains.
- Flipkart has added 800 additional cities and towns in the last six months to its service map. It had initiated a ‘The Reach Project’ in February this year to bring Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities on its service-delivery map. Being an Indian company, its objective was to bring thousands of new sellers, MSMEs, domestic manufacturers and artisans into the ecommerce fold.
Healthtech Startup Transpact Lists Itself On BSE
Mumbai-based healthtech startup Transpact Enterprises Limited’s IPO will go live for trading on the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) Startup platform on September 5. The startup got department for the promotion of industry and internal trade’s (DPIIT) regulatory approval on August 20 and has been in the process of opening up shares for trading.
Reliance Launches JioFiber And JioGate
The company has launched its much-awaited JioFiber plan and the prices are a surprise indeed. JioFiber, its Fiber to the home service, has been launched across 1,600 cities in India. The date of the launch coincides with the launch of free calling and free internet service launched by Jio on September 5, 2016 and caused an epidemic for other players.
Also, it has launched a security management app, JioGate. The app has recorded over 500 installs on Google Play Store. It is compatible with devices that run Android 4.1 and above. For Apple users, it requires iOS 10 or later.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
AUS’ Small Drone First To Be Certified By Government
India’s civil aviation authority directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has certified a drone in the small drone category developed by Bengaluru-based Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS). Aarav’s drone was found to be compliant with the drone guidelines set by the government under the ‘no permission, no take-off’ (NPNT) protocol for commercial drone flights within the country.
Social Media To Follow Voluntary Code Of Ethics
As the state assembly election dates come closer, Election Commission of India has reportedly asked the social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Sharechat and others, to comply with the code of ethics adopted by them during the last Lok Sabha elections. Companies have agreed to provide a mechanism for political advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by media certification and monitoring committee. The Code of Ethics had also promised to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements.
OYO Looks To Get Into Student Accommodation Industry
OYO is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire student accommodation assets of Lovely Professional University (LPU). The deal will reportedly cost $200 Mn. The transaction details are still being finalised, but the company is looking at a multi-decade, long-term agreement. LPU’s promoter — the Mittal family, is selling the assets to generate liquidity and future fund expansion.
Delhi Airport Begins Facial Recognition Tech Trials
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport recently started a three-month trial of biometric facial recognition entry system for domestic passengers of Vistara airline at Terminal 3. A Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) spokesperson said that the participation in the trials is purely voluntary and at the discretion of the passengers.
Signzy Partners With Primechain Technologies
Bengaluru-based fintech company Signzy has partnered with Pune-based blockchain startup Primechain Technologies to co-develop AI-led smart banking solutions for banks and financial institutions. The companies said that their first pre-integrated solution is expected to be launched by December 2019. It aims to fast-track the digital transformation of banks and financial institutions in India and around the world.
International Companies Betting On India: A Glimpse
- Y Combinator’s new president, Geoff Ralston said that India is undergoing an S-curve in the development of the market. “This means there will be brand new opportunities here which we didn’t think of before. This is perfect for startups.”
- Mark Mobius, a prominent emerging markets fund manager, said that he is most bullish on the Indian market because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform and also “because of the incredible growth potential of over a billion people being lifted out of poverty.” He said that the consumer market in India will be growing rapidly and drive economic growth in years to come.
- France-headquartered food services and facilities management company Sodexo is looking to diversify its offerings by venturing into daycare in India. Sodexo India president Rishi Gour said that it is drawing up plans to foray into creche management through acquisitions.
- Alibaba Group has finally announced its entry into the Indian ecommerce market through the ultra-popular UCWeb browser app. It plans to start fully-owned ecommerce business in India through UCWeb. While the business model and the details about the ecommerce service haven’t been revealed, Alibaba said that it would also include online movie ticket bookings, which would put it in competition with BookMyShow and Paytm.
Airtel Launches Xstream Box, Xstream Stick
With the launch of Airtel Xstream Box and Xstream Stick, the company aims to provide a single platform for all entertainment needs of the viewers. The new products will run on Android, giving users access to the Google Play store. This will allow users to download other entertainment apps, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Youtube.
Smartphone Sales Drop Due To Slowdown
At least 75 new smartphone models have been lined up for a launch this festive season. However, research agency TechArc has indicated a weak market demand. The UAE-based company has cut down its 2019 smartphone growth estimate by over 3% to reach 10.5% from 13%. According to the report, the sales will see a difference of almost 4 Mn from 149 Mn to 145 Mn. However, Inc42 does not have access to the report.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!