The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will prepare a “whitelist” of all the legal apps and the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will ensure that only these “whitelist” apps are hosted on app stores. This decision was taken at a high level meeting on issues related to illegal loan apps, which was chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, September 8.

It was decided in the meeting that the RBI will monitor the ‘mule or rented’ accounts that may be used for money laundering and accordingly cancel dormant non-bank finance institutions or NBFCs to avoid their misuse, official sources said. The RBI will also ensure that registration of payment aggregators is completed within a timeframe and no un-registered payment aggregator be allowed to function after that. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been asked to identify shell companies and de-register them to prevent their misuse.
The Finance Minister expressed concern over rising instances of illegal loan apps offering loans mostly to vulnerable sections of society, offering high interest rates and then using intimidatory tactics to recover the amount. She also highlighted the possibility of money laundering, tax evasion and data breaches by such aggregators.
The Minister told officials that steps should be taken to increase cyber awareness for customers, bank employees, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders.

The meeting was attended by the Finance Secretary, Economic Affairs Secretary, Banking Secretary as well as Secretaries from ministries like corporate affairs and IT.
On September 3, the ED said that it carried out search operations at six different locations in Bengaluru in connection with its probe into the Chinese loan apps fraud case. The financial probe agency said it raided the premises associated with Paytm, Razorpay and Cashfree, all payment gateways which allegedly facilitated transactions on loan apps unauthorisedly run by Chinese-owned firms.

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