We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
This week one of the biggest happenings of the startup ecosystem was when the Delhi High Court questioned the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) about the legality Google’s payment app. A division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice AJ Bhambhani posed the question to RBI about how Gpay was facilitating financial transactions without the requisite authorisation from the central bank.
Here’s a look at the other important developments for the week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories
WhatsApp Pay To Follow Data Localisation Norms
After reports surfaced that WhatsApp is ready to comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s data localisation norms, the company said it will rely on a third party company to audit its payments system and ensure that it complies with Indian data localisation rules. Following this, WhatsApp may now take up to five months to comply with the country’s data localisation norms to launch its payments service — WhatsApp Pay.
Ola: Dubai Expansion And More
- In response to Ola’s parent company ANI Technology’s petition against the Karnataka transport department, the high court has asked the department to submit the status on bike taxis by April 16. The court has directed that a single company cannot be pulled out for offering bike taxi services while its rivals continue to offer similar service.
- The Bengaluru-based cab aggregator Ola is reportedly looking to launch operations in Dubai. Reports said that the company had sent teams to the Gulf state at least twice over the past year to explore the business opportunities in the market.
277 Startups Get Angel Tax Breather
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is bringing about change as 277 startups get an all clear certificate from income tax department. Nakul Saxena of iSPIRT Foundation said, “Out of 303-304 startups which had applied to DPIIT for relief, 277 have received the clearance while the rest of the 25 odd startups have some discrepancies with the forms which DPIIT is looking to solve.”
Tax Dept Explores New Filing System To Bring Relief To Angel Investors
The Income Tax department is reportedly looking to mandate disclosure of holdings in unlisted companies in tax returns of angel investors. This would then be compared with the filings of startups, which have been asked to disclose the list of investors along with some of their details. In turn, the government’s concern of shell companies being used to launder black money also gets a solution as the two-way investment and funding disclosures will highlight the shell companies.
Flipkart Pilots Video-Based eKYC Tech
Walmart-owned ecommerce company Flipkart is developing a video-based know-your-customer (KYC) solution to offer instant credit to users purchasing from its platform. The company is now looking to develop its technology and tap into the growing Indian fintech market. In order to offer the services, Flipkart has been working with smaller fintech partners to offer ‘cardless credit’ and check out finance to its users.
Supreme Court Rejects Urgent Hearing Plea On TikTok Ban
On Monday (April 8), the Supreme Court of India rejected a plea by Chinese media giant ByteDance (India) against ban imposed on its TikTok app by Madras High Court. Last week, the Madras High Court passed an order to ban the Chinese video sharing platform TikTok as it noted that the app exposes children to pornography, and makes them vulnerable to sexual predators online.
India Reluctant To Lower Import Duties On Mobile Phones
In its latest engagement with the United States of America, India has proposed that it may consider lowering import duties on high-end mobile phones but not on cheap phones as it could hurt domestic manufacturers. As part of their fresh discussions on trade policies, it is being reported that one of the big demands made by the US is that India should revoke the 20% import duties on mobile phones that it imposed over the last couple of years.
Visa May Join National Common Mobility Card Bandwagon
The global card issuing company Visa, is in talks with banks to join the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) scheme. A media report citing people aware of the development said that Visa is ready with the specifications to start issuing cards on the NCMC network and has initiated talks with banks to issue their cards on NCMC as well, but it will take some time for the cards to start getting rolled out in the market.
Zomato, Swiggy Face GST Hiccup
The food aggregators are not being able to show tax collected at source (TCS) from restaurants using their platform, which is preventing the partner restaurants from claiming credits. In response to the problems pointed out by the companies, the central government has transferred this issue for review to a law committee under the GST Council.
YouTube Music Records 3 Mn Downloads In One Week
Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube had launched its music streaming service in India on March 12. It introduced a free ad-supported version of YouTube Music while the premium paid version for ad-free music is for INR 99 per month. It also forayed into the original video streaming market in India with YouTube Originals.
General Elections 2019: NaMo TV, BJP Manifesto And More
- Preparing for the biggest event in the democracy of India, Facebook is blocking or removing approximately one million accounts per day. Facebook India’s managing director and vice president Ajit Mohan said in a blog post that, “We’ve also gotten better at using artificial intelligence and machine learning to fight interference. For example, these tools help us block or remove approximately one million accounts a day. They also help us, at a large scale, identify abusive or violating content, quickly locate it across the platform and remove it in bulk.”
- The Election Commission of India has asked Delhi chief electoral officer to begin vetting and certifying NaMo TV content by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee. Reports said that the EC will ask the expenditure incurred towards BJP’s “purported advertising portal”— NaMo TV— to be reflected in BJP’s annual audit and expenditure reports.
- A new study by an US-based cyber watchdog, Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) shows that on February 9-10, pro-BJP Twitter accounts were busy trying to popularise the hashtag ‘TNwelcomesModi’ while pro-Congress or anti-BJP accounts kept mentioning the hashtag ‘GoBackModi’.
- After the BJP government received severe criticism for not addressing the startups’ issues in Union Budget 2019, the party’s election manifesto titled “Sankalpa Patra” (Manifesto) has promised to accelerate the ongoing investments and innovation in the ecosystem.
- Social media companies have agreed to take down objectionable content which violates the 48-hour media silence rule within two hours, according to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The body has requested the election watchdog to still maintain the three hour timeframe so that the companies get enough time to acknowledge and process violations under all circumstances.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
No Legal Basis To Ban E-Cigarette Imports: Trade Ministry
The Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has said it sees no legal basis to ban imports of electronic cigarettes. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry believes that halting imports of e-cigarettes into India will be against multilateral commitments with the World Trade Organization. However, if the country wants to do this, first it will have to prohibit local sales through federal regulations that “can stand the scrutiny of law”.
Amazon May Leverage Tapzo To Become A Super App
Amazon India is in the middle of beta testing flight bookings in collaboration with travel portal Cleartrip. With this, the company is looking to let consumers order food, book cabs and hotel stays over time. These integrations are reportedly done via third-party application integrations with vertical market leaders.
Draft Ecommerce Policy May Be A Roadblock To India’s Economic Ambitions: IAMAI
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said in a statement that “the draft Policy is likely to severely bring down FDI flows in the sector which is the backbone to building a trillion-dollar digital economy.” The association also found that the process of making the policy itself was less than inclusive and open as compared to more recent national level policies such as the National Digital Communications Policy 2018.
Indian Entrepreneurs Are Some Of The Youngest In The World
India’s startup ecosystem is brimming with young minds, with the median age of founder-entrepreneurs being 31 years, a youth delegate representing India said in a United Nations event held in New York. Indian youth “are overcoming challenges and shining bright in all walks of life,” she reportedly said. India is one of the youngest nations with second largest startup ecosystem in the world.
Sapfresh Launches Ready-To-Eat Patient Friendly Meals
Bengaluru-based health shots startup Sapfresh launched its ready-to-eat patient friendly meal offerings in Bengaluru. The ingredients in Sapfresh foods are organic and considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS). The foods are made in an anti-microbial environment using world class equipment and are delivered to end users based on a subscription basis.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!