According to News18, the government is taking “urgent” and “emergency” action to ban and block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with ties to China.
The Union Home Ministry directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with Chinese connections.
For the past six months, the Union Home Ministry has been analysing these apps and discovering that they pose a security risk to Indian citizens as well as being potential tools for espionage and propaganda. These apps were also found to engage in predatory behaviour, trapping people in debt.
Government plans to Ban 138 Betting Apps, 94 Loan Apps With China links
Investigations found that because these apps have access to vital information about Indians, server-side security flaws might possibly be exploited for mass spying. Central intelligence agencies and states like Telangana, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh compelled the Union Home Ministry to act. Following a string of suicides in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by people who had borrowed money from these apps or lost money through betting apps, attention was drawn to this issue.
The majority of these apps were developed by Chinese nationals, who also employed and promoted Indians to business director positions. Loans were offered as an incentive by the apps, but the interest rates were later increased by up to 3,000% annually. Representatives of the apps harassed borrowers who were unable to repay the debts by sending threatening messages and even threatening to expose altered images.
On the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has taken action to restrict certain apps. The action was initiated after it was determined that the apps violate Section 69 of the IT Act because they include “information that is detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India,” according to an official communication.
Some of the apps can still be accessed through independent links or websites even though they can no longer be downloaded on smartphones, and some of them accept cryptocurrencies as payment. According to a warning from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, commercials for gambling and betting are prohibited by the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, the Cable TV Network Regulation Act of 1995, and the Information Technology Rules of 2021 in the majority of India.
The ministry has encouraged web intermediaries to refrain from directing such advertisements at the Indian market because of the serious financial and socioeconomic hazards associated with betting and gambling, particularly for young people and children. The ministry declared that it is not in the public interest to promote betting and gaming, whether they take place offline or online.