The Indian government has reportedly taken action to ban and block a total of 234 mobile apps, including 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps, with links to China. The move was prompted by security concerns and was communicated to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) by the Home Ministry with urgency. A six-month analysis conducted by the Union Home Ministry uncovered the existence of 94 of these loan apps available on e-stores, while others were operating through third-party links. Some of the apps were also found to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.
The Indian government recently banned apps that it deemed “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order” under section 69A of the Information Technology Act. This decision was prompted by numerous complaints of extortion and harassment related to money lending or loan-taking apps backed by China. The situation became dire after reports of suicides, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, by people who had taken loans or lost money through betting apps. The governments of Telangana, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh, along with central intelligence agencies, asked the central government to investigate and take action against these apps.
Many of the banned apps are no longer available for download on smartphones, but they can still be obtained through their individual websites. However, it is likely that access to these websites will soon be restricted through IP level blocking by telecommunication companies.