This week, in one of the most important development, the department of telecommunications (DOT) announced to sought recommendations to block social media applications such as Facebook, Whatsapp, and Telegram during emergencies. The Indian government has said that it expects social media platforms, especially with larger user base to behave in a responsible manner.
Moving on, India has now initiated an officially preliminary enquiry (PE) into Cambridge Analytica and Global Sciences research role in a suspected breach of Indian Facebook user’s data. However, Facebook has reportedly not been included in the CBI’s preliminary enquiry.
Also, the government is apparently drafting new guidelines to make the intermediaries -social media- more responsive to blocking fake news. It is drafting some guidelines, as a part of Section 79 of IT Act, that will blind social media companies to respond to complaints about fake news accounts within a few hours.
Following the fake rumours, Whatsapp has officially announced that it has restricted forward message limit to five chats over 200 Mn users in India. The decision came in line with the reports which indicate that at least 31 people have been killed in the last year in 10 different Indian states
Indian Startup News Stories of The Week
Walmart-Flipkart Deal Gets CCI Approval, To Handle Taxation Issues And More
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has announced that it has given final approval to the long-awaited Flipkart-Walmart merger. The CCI, in its order, added that the issue of Flipkart’s discounting practices would be dealt with separately in the upcoming ecommerce policy.
- Walmart is expected to close the Walmart-Flipkart deal within a week or a fortnight at the most after the deal has been given the green signal by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
- Flipkart has officially made its foray into the online grocery business with Flipkart Supermart in Bengaluru. It now has plans to expand to five to six major cities by the end of 2018.
- Japanese technology conglomerate Softbank Group Corp has posted a 49% increase in first-quarter operating profit. The profit of $2.2 Bn (¥244.9 Bn) for its $100 Bn SoftBank Vision Fund came from the gains of its stake sale in Flipkart to Walmart.
PM Modi To Launch India Post Payments Bank
PM Narendra Modi will launch the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) aimed at providing financial services in the remotest rural areas of the country. IPPBs will be launched with at least one branch in every district of India whereas two IPPB branches are already operational. Further, 648 branches will be launched across districts in the country.
TRAI’s Chairman Defends Act Of Sharing Aadhaar Details On Twitter
Ram Sewak Sharma has stated that the intention behind sharing his aadhaar number was never to abet others to publish or disclose their biometric numbers. The chairman also announced the integration of TRAI’s app on the UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance) platform to help citizens across government services.
In another development, the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has condemned the spread of rumours and fear-mongering against Aadhaar and stated that an outdated number on a mobile/smartphone can cause no harm. It also said that the rumours about Aadhaar database being breached are completely false and baseless. UIDAI also expects Google to look into the issue which caused confusion in the minds of people.
Karnataka May Soon Allow On-Demand Bike Taxis Service
The Karnataka government has started looking at representations from various stakeholders over reintroducing the service. Also, Uber has already submitted its application for bike taxi approval to extend its efficient last mile services to its customers.
Ola Plans To Expand To UK
Ola has obtained licenses to operate in South Wales and Great Manchester in the UK. The cab is working with local authorities in the UK to expand nationwide by end of 2018. The aggregator is also offering an introductory commission rate as low as 10% for PHVs for metered taxis in the UK.
Second Ecommerce Policy Draft To Come In Next Few Days, Will Consider Seller Feedback And More
- All India Vendors Association, All India Mobile Retailers Association and other seller associations are set to give their feedback to the government on the draft of ecommerce policy including a demand for protection of independent sellers from ecommerce platform itself acting as a seller with the CAIT.
- Based on this, the second draft of ecommerce policy proposal is expected in a next few days.
- Ecommerce sellers have decided to seek interoperability of their reviews and ratings as this will help small sellers escape discrimination from major ecommerce companies.
Government Panel To Work On Cloud Commuting Policy Draft
The panel formed to work on cloud computing policy wants data generated in India to be stored within the country. The draft cloud commuting policy report is likely to be submitted to MeitY before August-end or by September 15. The bill can deal a blow to global technology giants.
Rohit Nandhani Announces End Of Newton
Newton, the cloud magic’s paid subscription-based email app will shut down on September 25. Newton has been working on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to build a virtual assistant on top of its email app.
Amazon Faces Delay In The Launch Of Amazon Pay
The Amazon’s plan to launch its own UPI-based payment app in the country has been stuck due to concerns around the storage of data in India. Multinationals keen on entering the payments space in India with their own inter-bank fund transfer service UPIs are now waiting for more clarity on data storage from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Earlier this year, Amazon introduced UPI as a mode of payment on its website. Also, Amazon has roped in Axis Bank to start issuing UPI handles to users of Amazon Pay.
Other Indian Startup Stories Of The Week
Indian Politicians Get Featured On UK’s List Of Influential People
UK-based NGO apolitical has released its list of the World’s 100 most influential people in the digital government. The list recognises Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Indian Union Minister for Electronics and IT and Minister for Law and Justice, among the top 20 most influential people in digital government. Vasundhara Raje, the chief minister of Rajasthan, which is on a digitalisation mission, also got featured on the top 100 list.
GeM Completes Two Years Of Operation
In last two years, GeM claimed to attain over $1.45 Bn (INR 10,000 Cr) in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) through more than $8.96 K (INR 6.16 Lacs) transactions on the platform. GeM has also iterated that there were over 4.2 lakh products available on its platform through a network of over 1.3 lakh sellers and service providers.
DoT Amends Telecom and Internet Service Provider Permits
These amendments aims to incorporate net neutrality rules from barring and blocking or slowing down of content. The telecom commission had last month accepted the recommendations of TRAI emphasising on open internet. The government has made amendments in the ISP permits to incorporate rules on net neutrality.
GST Council Approves Pilot Project To Encourage Digital Payments
The consumers will now get a 20% cashback in order to incentivise digital payments, and also to set up a panel to look into issues faced by medium and small enterprises (MSMEs).
Google Plans To Capture The Cloud Infrastructure Market
Google Cloud’s chief scientist of artificial intelligence, and machine learning, Fei-Fei Li believes that Indians are contributing immensely to the global AI ecosystem. Li also shared that there is ongoing research on how AI could be used to weed out fake news. Further, Google is bullish on artificial intelligence and is betting big on the technology to capture a higher market share in the hyper-competitive cloud infrastructure market.
HARMAN International Takes JBL Online
Hardware-focused HARMAN International has launched an online store for speakers and electronics manufacturers JBL in India.The online brand store will be selling the entire range of consumer products- from headphones and bluetooth speakers to home and multimedia solutions.
Amazon Signs MoU With UP Government For MSME Entrepreneurs
Online marketplace Amazon has signed an MoU with the Uttar Pradesh government to support MSME entrepreneurs across nine districts as a part of the state’s One District One Product (ODOP) scheme. Under the programme, a wide range of benefits will be offered to 300 MSME sellers registered under UP government’s ODOP scheme.
Tmw Offers Reward Programme That Turns Into Gold Points
Tmw has expanded its reward programme to convert reward points into Pure Gold. tmw loyalty and rewards program is that the reward points earned under the loyalty and rewards program never expire. Only tmw offers to redeem the earned points into long term wealth (Gold) or digital cash. Tmw customers earn reward points on every single transaction and can choose to convert into Gold or increase cash in their spend account.
Zomato Expands In Tier II Cities, Expands Gold Version
Zomato is bringing its Zomato Gold version to cities such as Nagpur, Lucknow, Indore, and Ludhiana. Zomato Gold is now available across 14 cities in India: Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Nagpur, Lucknow, Indore, and Ludhiana. Outside India, Zomato Gold is available across UAE and Portugal and is slated to launch in Australia, Philippines, and Indonesia later this year.
Also, Zomato has launched its food delivery services in tier 11 cities which include Dehradun, Agra, Mysore, Ranchi, and Aurangabad. Zomato’s food delivery services now available in 28 cities in India – Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Kochi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Indore, Coimbatore among others.
PAYU And Reliance Money Enter Into Partnership
PAYU and Reliance Money have entered into a strategic partnership to offer instant app-based personal loans to underserved consumers in India. The partnership is in line with the government’s broader goal of financial inclusion.
TopoFogo Forays Into Refurbished Laptops
Togofogo has added Refurbished laptops category on its platform. With the new product category, the company aims to capture 8-10% share in the market. Also, Togofogo would be selling laptops of top-brands on its website.
Housejoy Launches Home Construction Services
Housejoy has launched a new range of services in the home construction industry. The new services will enable a customer to get a complete home solution from architecture to execution. The platform brings end-to-end solution to one’s doorstep with a click of a button. The newly launched services will be available in Bangalore.
Nutanix Launches New Channel Charter
Nutanix has launched its new channel charter Power to the Partner. The charter stands out from traditional channel programs by providing a unique emphasis on partner investments in Nutanix rather than solely on revenue targets. Further, the charter focuses on empowering Nutanix partners with the tools they need to support their customers in adopting next-generation data center technologies.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week.