Center starts process to ban 138 betting apps, 94 lending apps with Chinese connections

NEW DELHI: In A major repressionthe central government has started the process to ban and block 138 betting apps and 94 lending apps with Chinese links on an ‘urgent’ and ’emergency’ basis, top government sources said Sunday.
We learn that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) took the decision based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
According to the sources, the MHA recommended MeitY this week to ban and block these apps and the Ministry later initiated the process as per the notice.
The move was made after confirming that these apps attract Section 69 of the IT Act as they contain material which is prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
The action behind the move is based on several allegations of extortion and harassment against ordinary people who had availed of small loan amounts through the mobile apps operated by such entities and individuals.
It is learned that these apps are the brainchild of Chinese nationals who have hired Indians and made them operations directors.
According to the inputs, desperate people are tricked into taking a loan and then raising the interest up to 3,000% a year.
When debtors were unable to repay the interest, let alone the entire loan, the people representing these apps started harassing the debtors. They sent them obscene messages, threatening to release their transformed photos and shaming them with messages to their contacts.
The issue has come to the fore after a spate of suicides, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, by those who have opted for such loans or have lost money to gambling apps. States like Telangana, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, as well as central intelligence agencies, later asked the Union Home Ministry to take action against these apps, sources said.
Based on these inputs, the MHA began analyzing 28 Chinese lending apps six months ago. However, they found that 94 apps are available on e-stores and others work through third-party links.
It is learned that many apps are now not available for download on smartphones, but sources say that the betting apps and games are downloaded through unrelated links or websites.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued a warning, stating that since betting and gambling are illegal in most of the country, advertising for these betting platforms, as well as their substitutes, is illegal under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019, Cable TV Network Regulation Act 1995 and IT Rules, 2021.


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