WhatsApp must have an office in India to launch its payments service says MeitY

MeitY is firm on its stance and says that WhatsApp has to set up an office and a team in India.

WhatsApp has been trying to launch its pilot Payments service in India for a while now, but the Ministry of Electronics and IT has just made life more difficult for the Facebook-owned social media company.

WhatsApp representative illustration. Reuters.

WhatsApp representative illustration. Reuters.

MeitY has reportedly told WhatsApp that the company can think about going ahead with plans of a payments service only if it sets up an office in India and recruits a team for the country.

According to a report by The Economic Times, the government also plans to seek the RBI's views on whether payment solutions controlled remotely by entities violate rules on setting up such financial services in the country. This, in turn, will very likely delay plans of launching WhatsApp Payments in India anytime soon.

As per the report the information was shared by the government when WhatsApp's chief operating officer Matt Idema and a group of executives from the company met officials from the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

The report also adds that WhatsApp is setting up a team in India on "priority" and that the company is currently looking for people who can fill up as India Head and the Head of Policy. For an app that has its largest user base in India, it is beyond shocking that there is no India specific team in place.

MeitY, on the other hand, is firm on its stance and says that it is imperative for WhatsApp to have an office set up in India since it sees payments as a very critical activity, one that cannot be handled remotely. A government official also mentioned that since WhatsApp Payments isn't official in any other country, the government is not too confident about WhatsApp's plans.

The government had earlier criticised WhatsApp claiming that the payment's service did not come with two-factor authentication and that the service shares data with its parent Facebook.

WhatsApp in the meantime is not on the right footing with the government since lynchings across the country started to happen, leading to multiple deaths because of fake news being spread on the messaging platform. The company has since launched a ‘forwards label’ to mark non-original content and limited forwarding of messages to five at one go. The government, however, is not happy yet and wants the platform to do more in restricting the spread of misinformation at the source.

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