We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
This week one of the biggest news came when Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Tuesday (March 5) said that startups which received assessment notices under Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act (I-T Act) will be exempt from Angel Tax if they comply with the February 19 notification. The Act shall not apply to consideration received by a company for issue of shares that exceeds the face value of such shares, and which fulfils the conditions specified by DPIIT.
Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) extended the deadline for public comments on the draft ecommerce policy from March 9 to March 31. Earlier in the week, DPIIT Additional Secretary Shailendra Singh had announced in a closed door CII meeting about the extension of the public discussions.
Also, at an event on Friday (March 8), DPIIT Secretary Ramesh Abhishek suggested that going forward, one-third of the Centre’s Fund of Funds disbursal will go to women-led startups. He shared that they will encourage other government departments to also support allocating separate funds for women-led startups. The DPIIT is also mulling on ensuring one-third of women participation across the events it hosts.
Here’s a look at the other important developments for the week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories
Aadhaar Ordinance Passed, But Will Cost INR 20 For Pvt Cos
According to a government notification on March 2, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind has approved promulgation of an ordinance which will allow voluntary use of Aadhaar by private entities. However, UIDAI announced on March 6 that it is mandatory for private organisations to pay a fee of INR 20 ($0.2) for each eKYC transaction and 50 paise for authentication of the unique ID.
One Nation One Card For All
This will allow users to pay charges across multiple kinds of transport including metros and other transport systems across the country. These are bank issued cards on Debit/Credit/Prepaid card product platform. The customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail. The card will support operator specific applications such as monthly passes, season tickets etc.
Flipkart: Alpha Intermediaries, Increase In Commission
- Effective from March 1, Flipkart had notified the sellers that the commission on western wear, kurtis, innerwear, smartwatches, blazers and waistcoats has been hiked. The company made the highest change in the smartwatch category where it hiked the commission from existing 20% to 23% causing a 15% increase in charges for the sellers. The commission charges for western apparel segment was increased from 15% to 16%, causing a 6.67% hike in costs for the sellers.
- Flipkart is appointing half-a-dozen companies as intermediaries between its wholesale unit and some preferred sellers on its platform to get around the 25% cap on direct purchases from entities related to marketplaces. Sports Lifestyle, Premium Lifestyle & Fashion India and Wishberry Online Services are among the intermediaries.
National Logistics Policy Soon: Logistics Secy
The Indian government is reportedly finalising the Draft National Logistics Policy, which aims to identify bottlenecks and bridge the gaps prevailing in the sector. Last month, on February 5, the Ministry of Commerce had published the draft policy and opened the issue for public discussions. The policy draft aims to provide an impetus to trade, enhance export competitiveness, improve India’s ranking in the Logistics Performance Index to between 25 and 30, among other initiatives.
Facebook: The Case Of India’s General Elections
- The 31-member parliamentary panel of the Indian government questioned the representatives of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram over three keys issues—allegations that they acted as a lobby group in various countries, the scope of human intervention in their processes and whether or not they had ombudsmen in place for grievance redressal.
- After Facebook enabled political ads transparency from February 21, BJP and its affiliates account for over 50% of the total ad spend while opposition party Congress and its affiliates are at the third position after regional parties. The governing party has already spent INR 2.37 Cr on Facebook ads as of February. The regional parties are at the second position have exhausted INR 19.8 Lakh while Congress has poured in INR 10.6 Lakh for advertisements.
India Loses $18.5 Bn Due To Illegal Business Done Over Darknet
According to a March 2019 report by Indian foreign policy think tank Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations, this is a four-fold increase from $4.2 Bn in 2014. The report also expects a higher loss in future. The online black markets operate through darknet and are involved in the sale of drugs, cyber arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids and other illegal products including child pornography.
Snapchat May Be Working On Integrating 5 Indian Languages
Snapchat has reportedly launched a beta test version in eight new languages, five of which are Indian that include Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. The other international languages reportedly are Malay, Vietnamese and Filipino.
Google Launches India-Only Language Bolo
Google has launched personalised reading tutor app ‘Bolo’ to help children improve their reading skills. According to the company, the application has been designed for primary grade students. The app which is powered by Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology comes with a built-in reading tutor named as “Diya”. The software tutor is designed to encourage, explain and correct the children as they read out aloud.
Paytm Launches Loyalty Programme
Paytm has launched subscription-based rewards and loyalty program, called Paytm First, bringing on board subscription plan of popular apps in one place. The move, Paytm said, is aimed at capturing over 30 lakh subscribers with over 3 Mn subscriptions within a year. In this rewards and loyalty program, the company will be providing subscriptions on services such as entertainment, shopping and food apps, and on-demand OTT. For this purpose, it has roped in Zomato Gold, Gaana, Sony Liv, ViU Premium, Eros Now, Uber and Uber Eats, among others.
PayMate Goes International With Visa
PayMate has partnered with global payments enabler Visa to expand its presence to 92 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region. Rakesh Khanna, vice president, Head of Visa Business Solutions, CEMEA Visa said, “Our initial foray with PayMate in India resulted in a large number of enterprises and SMBs making payments using Visa commercial cards across industry verticals, contributing to significant B2B payment volume growth in the country.”
Crowdfunding Sites Register As Alternative Investment Funds
Major equity crowdfunding platforms such as AngelList, LetsVenture and Tracxn Labs have registered themselves with SEBI as alternative investment funds (AIF). This move reportedly took place after Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) sent notices to these platforms for not adhering to private placement norms, or in other words, for acting like unauthorised stock exchanges.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Cred Is Testing UPI Payments: Kunal Shah
Three months old fintech startup — Cred — is currently testing Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based digital mode of payments to allow its users to pay their credit card bills. Kunal Shah, founder of Cred told Inc42 that the company is not foraying into UPI payments and the move is just to make credit card payments.
Spotify Gets 1 Mn Users In One Week In India
Spotify has added more than one Mn unique users in India across its free and premium services since it debuted in India less than a week ago. Spotify, which confirmed the development to Inc42, allows users to listen to the music for free but that comes at the cost of seeing ads which at the moment are spreading brand awareness or urge you to shift to the paid service. It is unclear at the moment how much of the million club resides in the freemium segment.
India’s Online Gaming Industry To Grow At 22% CAGR Between FY 2018 – 2023
According to a report by consulting major KPMG and industry’s self-regulatory body, Indian Federation of Sports Gaming, the online gaming industry in India is expected to generate a revenue of INR 11,900 Cr by financial year 2023. According to the report, major drivers for the mobile gaming growth is increasing smartphone affordability and penetration, expanding internet user base and declining data prices.
Delhi HC Pulls Up Social Media Platforms Over Hateful Video Against Patanjali
Patanjali had alleged that an unknown person had uploaded a video on YouTube, and that the content in the Hindi language contained “several defamatory, disparaging and threatening statements” against Patanjali, and that links were also posted on Facebook. According to the court order, the person in the video had abused Baba Ramdev, and also stated that the products sold by Patanjali as fake.
India Hesitant To Join WTO Negotiations To Chalk Out Ecommerce Policies
India has reportedly told the World Trade Organisation (WTO) during a delegations meeting that it will not join the negotiations to develop trade rules on ecommerce, arguing that it is an idea whose time has not yet come. It also argued that the discussions by some countries are not consistent with the mandate of the multilateral trading system.
InstantPay Launches Neo-Banking Services For SMEs
Delhi-based InstantPay launched Neo-banking services to allow SMEs the advantage of managing all their payments, collections and reconciliation on a single and seamless interface. The existing InstantPay platform will offer a full-fledged business banking current account with an underlying bank. InstantPay is partnering up with large banks and integrating its core banking services on its platform. With such a partnership, InstantPay is also offering quick unsecured overdraft facility to the SMEs, that will in turn help solve their credit issues.
Travelyaari Launches ‘Modify Booking’ feature
Bengaluru-based online bus ticketing platform Travelyaari has launched modify booking feature to enable users to modify ticket delivery information (email and phone number) and passenger details (seat, gender, pickup and drop-off), even after booking the ticket. Travellers, who wish to make changes to their bookings, can do so through Travelyaari’s app or website. However, this feature can be only applied once per PNR.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!