News Roundup: 11 Indian Startup News Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [26 Jan-02 Feb]

News Roundup: 11 Indian Startup News Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [26 Jan-02 Feb]


Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the interim budget 2019

Election Commission seeks ban on political ads on social media 48 hours before poll

IVCA, iSPIRT, NASSCOM share recommendations for full budget to be announced in April-May

We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!

This week in one of the most important developments for the Indian startup ecosystem, the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal presented the interim Budget 2019. While the budget failed to impress the startup community, it has increased the expectations from the upcoming full budget in April-May.

The IVCA and iSPIRT have placed the hope of the private capital ecosystem on the upcoming Finance Bill. NASSCOM, however, believes that the Interim Budget is an attempt to drive much-needed growth in the economy by providing special provisions for underserved communities such as farmers, SMEs, women, and senior citizens.

In its recommendations, NASSCOM emphasised on bringing foreign tax credit provisions on a par with global business trends. It maintained that doing so would give a competitive edge to Indian companies in the global market.

While the budget will certainly be an interesting topic to discuss further, here’s a look at the other important developments for the week.

Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Regulating Social Media Content Will Jeopardise Free Speech

Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), an internet lobby group, has criticised India government’s plan on regulating social media content, citing that the stance will jeopardise citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and free speech. In a statement, the AIC commends the Indian government for reviewing the Intermediary Guidelines to address platform abuse.

Ecommerce Policy & FDI Issues: Govt Vs Ecommerce Players

  • Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) have finally found a big win in their fight against leading online marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart, as DIPP issued a statement declining any extension to the changes in FDI policy for ecommerce notified on December 26, 2018.
  • DIPP is expected to release the final ecommerce policy soon. The central government will listen to the suggestions made by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), however, the ecommerce policy guidelines will be finalised by the government.
  • In line with changes in FDI policy, Flipkart and Amazon, have told their exclusive partners across brands of mobiles, electronics etc, that they will be to able to operate as they do now, with some changes in their agreements.
  • The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) is wondering of food delivery players such as Zomato and Swiggy will also come under the purview of the ecommerce rules.
  • As the revised ecommerce foreign direct investment (FDI) norms came into effect from today (February 1, 2019), Amazon India has removed all the product listings from its preferred sellers such as Cloudtail and Appario Retail in India.

Some VCs Opine Ecommerce Policy Favouring Large Corporates, Report

IVCA And iSPIRT Push To Solve Angel Tax Issues

Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and online citizen engagement platform Local Circles, is conducting a survey to address the ambiguity in data on the number of startups that have received these angel tax notices. Also,  iSPIRT Foundation and online citizen engagement platform have listed out a set of recommendations to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to bring clarity to the situation.

Financials FY18 And FY19: Yatra And Ola

  • Online travel company Yatra has posted financial results for the third quarter of FY19 with a 7% improvement in its quarterly revenue and a nearly 60% yearly control on its losses.
  •  Ola controlled its losses by 42% in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. The consolidated results of the company showed that its losses reached $400 Mn (INR 2843.69 Cr), 42% lower than the $690 Mn (INR 4,898 Cr) loss in  FY17, while its consolidated revenue increased by almost 61%.

Amazon Prime Video May Be Working On Short-Form Content

Amazon is planning to put up under 15-minute videos such as music videos, trailers, comedies, and how-to videos on its platform. According to a report, 85% viewers in India consume short-form video content on smartphones and Youtube, which is essentially a short video platform, dominates the minds of Indian viewers with over 180 Mn viewers.

Amazon Prime Video short video content

RBI Launches Digital Payments Ombudsman Scheme

Under this scheme, the regulator will redress user complaints and grievances related to online transactions. As a part of the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions (OSDT), the banking regulator will be providing a free of cost complaint redressal mechanism to address the issues in customer services involved in the digital transaction done through non-bank entities regulated by RBI.

Aadhar Misuse And Data Leak Issue Rises Again

According to a recent report from TechCrunch, State Bank of India (SBI) allowed access to financial information on millions of its customers, including bank balances and recent transactions. But no account PINs or passwords were leaked.

A report from TechCrunch also claimed that the unique identification numbers (UIN) of government workers in Jharkhand were left exposed and without a password on the state government’s website.

At the same time, SBI has demanded the UIDAI, responsible for Aadhaar enrollment and authentication, to immediately look into an alleged “misuse of Aadhaar biometrics,” and find the cause that led to it.

IndiaTech Seeks Easier Listing Of Consumer Internet Startups

In the last one month, the lobby group has reportedly held multiple talks with policymakers tasked with regulating the country’s startup ecosystem, including the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the commerce ministry and NITI Aayog. It is now looking to submit a white paper on the same in the next few weeks.

MakeMyTrip Vs Govt’s OTA Accreditation Scheme

The aggregator maintains that its platform can’t be assessed for the quality of service of the inventory offered on it since it is a technology platform. The tourism ministry on December 10, 2018, had issued a set of guidelines for the accreditation of OTAs — including bed-and-breakfast establishments, homestay operators, and hotels — to ensure adequate safeguards. Moreover, several OTA players were operating without any government accreditation and validation, the ministry said.

Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Shoppers Stop Seeks Clarity On Amazon Stake

With changes in FDI policy for ecommerce, one of Amazon’s retail investment, Shoppers Stop, is still unclear if these guidelines can affect Amazon’s 5% stake in the company. According to ShoppersStop, the investment is not through their retail arm and more than 95% of company’s sales are from its physical stores.

eBay India Back To Business In India

After breaking up with Flipkart in May 2018, eBay has relaunched in India on New Years’ Eve, in its phase 1, shared eBay CEO Devin Weni. He said that the Indian market is still in its early phase and has plenty of growth left. He believes that there won’t be one or two parties that make up the entirety of the Indian ecommerce opportunity and the company certainly intends to have a share of it.

OYO Expands Further In Indonesia And Philippines

OYO announced a commitment of $50 Mn (INR 355.7 Cr) to further develop its business in the Philippines. It is aiming to expand its operations in 100 cities across Indonesia by the end of 2019. It also recorded 5X growth in the last three months in the country.

TRAI May Take A Call On Regulation Of OTT Companies

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is reportedly looking to finalise its recommendations on whether over-the-top (OTT) services should be included under its regulatory purview, according to unnamed sources. Citing TRAI chairman R S Sharma, a media report claimed that open-house discussions will be organised soon and the final recommendations will be formulated by the end of next month.

Nearly 65% Of Indian Companies Ready For GDPR Compliance

According to the Cisco 2019 Data Privacy Benchmark Study, India is now in the sixth leading country in the GDPR readiness index as it has met most or all of the requirements. India has greatly improved upon its GDPR readiness with its fast evolving data privacy ecosystem, which is primarily because of a collaborative approach by the government and private organisations.”

PhonePe Launches Wealth Management Services For Millennials

PhonePe Wealth Services will act as an agent, advisor, and consultant to financial services such as deposits, mutual funds, government securities, and ad debentures, among others. PhonePe cofounder and CEO Sameer Nigam has brought clarity to the company’s plans in wealth management. He reportedly said that PhonePe aims to tap the growing base of Millennials looking to manage their wealth.

Ola Cuts Down Cash Burn At Foodpanda

Ola has reportedly more than halved its cash burn at Foodpanda. Under the newly enforced changes, Foodpanda will focus on running the business more cost efficiently by focusing on its own private labels and cloud kitchens which include The Great Khichdi Experiment, Lovemade and FLRT brands, and continue to leverage Ola’s base.

Stay tuned for the next week edition of Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!

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