Will not roll out payment services without compliance: WhatsApp tells SC

Agencies
May 14, 2020

Social media platform WhatsApp assured the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it will not roll out its payment services without complying with all payment regulations and norms in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Hrishikesh Roy took up the matter through video conferencing. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the social media platform, said "WhatsApp Inc makes a statement on behalf of his client that they will not go ahead with the payments' scheme without complying with all the regulations in force."

The statement was made during the hearing of a petition seeking a ban on payment through WhatsApp, as it does not conform to the data localization norms. The top court took the assurance made by WhatsApp on record.

WhatsApp made the statement during the hearing of a plea seeking a ban on its payment service, for not being in line with data localization norms.

In 2018, WhatsApp was granted a beta licence to launch its payment service, but a dedicated and separate app is yet to be launched. A petition was moved in the apex court that WhatsApp's existing model for its payments service should be declared inconsistent with the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Scheme, as a separate dedicated app has not been offered by the company.

The petitioner NGO, Good Governance Chambers, argued that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) must change its model on the lines of the UPI payment scheme, and its operations may be suspended until these conditions are met.

The apex court today asked the Centre, Facebook and WhatsApp to file their replies within three weeks and it will take up the matter thereafter. The court noted that the government may process the applications filed by WhatsApp in accordance with the law and there is no stay on the same. Facebook was represented by senior advocate Arvind Datar.

The petitioner argued that lapses have been found in relation to WhatsApp's claims of having a secure and safe technological interface for securing sensitive user data.

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News Network
September 21,2020

paytm.JPG

Noida, Sept 21: Financial services app Paytm has accused Google of making policies that are over and above the laws of India after it was briefly delisted from the Playstore last week.

"As a startup, we are running law-abiding businesses and building for India. Google and its employees are making policies which are over and above the laws of our country, and are arbitrarily implementing them," it said in a blogpost.

Paytm said Google owns Android which is the operating system on which over 95 per cent of smartphones in India run. Google, as a result, has enormous control over which apps you download through its Playstore policies.

"It also makes billions of dollars in advertising revenues from the Indian startups that make these apps. In many cases like maps, email, payments, shopping and cloud storage, Google also has apps that compete with other apps, including, of course, the apps that are made by Indian startups."

Paytm said it had launched a campaign where users could collect cricket stickers and scratch cards to earn UPI cashback. The offer was applicable on recharges, utility payments, UPI money transfers and adding money to Paytm wallet.

On September 18, it got an email from Google Play Support informing that the Paytm Android app had been delisted.

This was the first time that Google was sending it a notification regarding its UPI cashback and scratch cards campaign.

"Contrary to accepted practise, we were not given any opportunity to respond to their concerns or put forth our views. We maintain that our cashback campaign was within guidelines, as well as all laws of the land. We did not break any rules and there was no violation. It is not related to gambling in any manner whatsoever," said Paytm.

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Agencies
September 17,2020

Mumbai, Sept 17: Equity indices snapped a two-session rising streak to close with sharp losses on Thursday, in lockstep with global markets which recoiled after sobering economic assessment by the US Federal Reserve.

A weakening rupee and lack of fresh buying triggers further weighed on market mood, traders said.

The 30-share BSE Sensex opened lower and stayed in the negative zone throughout the session. It finally finished at 38,979.85, down by 323 points or 0.82 per cent.

Similarly, the NSE Nifty shed 88.45 points or 0.76 per cent to close at 11,516.10.

Bajaj Finserv was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, slipping 2.23 per cent, followed by PowerGrid, L&T, TCS, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, Tata Steel and Bajaj Finance.

On the other hand, HCL Tech, Infosys and Maruti finished with gains of up to 2.36 per cent.

Global equities swooned after the US Federal Reserve did not unveil any additional stimulus measures at its policy meet, even though it hinted at the key interest rate staying close to zero at least through 2023.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also said the economic outlook is "highly uncertain", stoking fears of more pain in store for businesses.

"Indian markets reacted in sync with global markets, after the US Fed reserve failed to keep up with the expectations of the investors. In spite of pledging to keep interest rates low, markets were disappointed on the lack of further inputs or immediate stimulus measures.

"Continued border tensions with China also worried Indian markets. Markets are expected to remain uncertain and investors advised to remain cautious," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE realty, metal, bankex, capital goods, finance, power and utilities indices dropped as much as 1.87 per cent, while healthcare, IT and teck closed in the green.

Broader BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices fell up to 0.53 per cent.

Shares of Happiest Minds Technologies made a stellar debut on the bourses, listing with a premium of over 111 per cent against its issue price of Rs 166. The stock finally finished at Rs 371, up 123.49 per cent over the issue price.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended with significant losses.

Stock exchanges in Europe too opened on a negative note. M

Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.26 per cent lower at USD 42.11 per barrel.

The rupee depreciated 14 paise to close at 73.66 against the US dollar.

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Agencies
September 10,2020

Mumbai, Sept 10: Markets roared back to life on Thursday after two days of declines as Reliance Industries ratcheted higher on reports that the company is offering to sell a substantial stake in its retail arm to Amazon.

The 30-share BSE Sensex soared 646.40 points or 1.69 per cent to finish at 38,840.32.

The broader NSE Nifty rallied 171.25 points or 1.52 per cent to close at 11,449.25.

Market heavyweight Reliance Industries surged to its lifetime high during the session after reports said the company has held discussions with Amazon for the retail arm stake sale.

The Mukesh Ambani-led firm is reportedly offering as much as 40 per cent stake in its retail subsidiary to Amazon, which is seeking to expand its presence in the Indian market.

On Wednesday, Reliance had announced that US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners would buy 1.75 per cent stake in its retail arm for Rs 7,500 crore.

RIL stock jumped 8.45 per cent to a record high of Rs 2,343.90 on the BSE on Thursday. The company's market valuation rose to Rs 14,66,589.53 crore (USD 199.64 billion) in late afternoon trade.

The stock finally ended 7.10 per cent higher, accounting for most of the Sensex's gains.

Asian Paints, Axis Bank, UltraTech Cement, IndusInd Bank and Bajaj Finance were among the other index gainers, spurting up to 4.25 per cent.

On the other hand, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, Kotak Bank, Titan and HDFC Bank closed in the red, shedding up to 2.24 per cent.

"Indian indices again had a strong showing today backed by strong gains in the shares of RIL, which alone contributed to more than half of the gains seen on Nifty. Suitors lining up for potential stake sale in Reliance Retail drove its gains today. Positive global cues also palyed a part in the broader positivity seen in the markets.

"European markets have turned cautious ahead of the ECB policy meeting happening today. Investors seems to have kept the simmering border tensions on the backburner for now and, in the absence of fresh triggers, will look at global markets and stock specific news for direction," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE energy index rallied 6.26 per cent, followed by oil and gas, basic materials, industrials, finance and capital goods.

On the other hand, telecom and metal fell up to 1.42 per cent.

Broader BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices surged up to 1.27 per cent.

In rest of Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong ended in the red, while Seoul and Tokyo closed higher.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a mixed note ahead of the European Central Bank's policy decision.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.27 per cent lower at USD 40.27 per barrel.

In the forex market, the rupee strengthened by 9 paise to end at 73.46 against the US dollar.

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