Digital Strike 2.0: India bans 230 betting, loan apps with Chinese links

DHARAMSALA, 6 Feb: India has banned 230 betting and loan apps with Chinese links on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis as they poses threat to the economic stability of the country.

Announcing ‘Digital Strike 2.0’ on China, New Delhi has ordered the ban of around 230 Chinese apps, including 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps on Sunday under Section 69 of the IT Act as they contain “material which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India,” media reports said.

“The order to block 138 apps that were involved in betting, gambling and money laundering was issued last evening. Separately, an order to block 94 apps engaged in unauthorised loan service has also been issued. These apps were being operated from offshore entities, including Chinese. They were posing a threat to the economic stability of the country,” PTI reported citing an official familiar with developments.

The 230 betting and loan apps with Chinese links have been banned after multiple complaints of extortion and harassment of common people who had availed loans of small amounts through the mobile apps. 

Though the names of these apps have not been revealed yet, it was reported that the ban was initiated by India’s  Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Accordion to a report on ANI, these apps attracted Section-69 of the IT Act as they contained material which was prejudicial to the country’s integrity and sovereignty.

Media reports said that the banned apps were the brainchild of Chinese nationals who hired Indians and made them directors of operations.

Earlier in November 2020, India, the world’s second-largest internet market issued an order under section 69A of the IT Act blocking access to 43 mobile apps, including PUBG Mobile, TikTok, Weibo, WeChat, and AliExpress. 

Additionally, in June 2020, India also blocked access to 59 mobile apps and in September it banned 118 more apps under section 69A of the IT Act.

China has previously labelled India’s decision to permanently ban Chinese mobile apps as a discriminatory measure and further accused India of repeatedly using national security as an excuse for taking action that violates WTO rules.

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