CITING “sovereignty and integrity of India”, the Centre on Tuesday banned 43 mobile apps with Chinese links, a move that follows the ban on 177 apps over two rounds in June and September this year.
The latest exercise, which comes amid India-China tension at the border, saw the ban of on-demand courier service Lalamove India, in addition to Alibaba Group’s online retail service AliExpress. Various other apps related to the Alibaba Group and at least 15 dating apps have also been banned.
“Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, today issued an order under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act blocking access to 43 mobile apps. This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued the order for blocking the access of these apps by users in India based on the comprehensive reports received from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs,” the government said in a statement.
Lalamove, which entered India in 2019, has been operational in cities such as Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Gurugram. The company was severely hit by the Covid-19 lockdown, given that a large chunk of its user base in India was medium and small businesses.
AliExpress, which is the retail service of Alibaba, had come under the scanner of the Indian government earlier this year along with other Chinese e-commerce companies, for allegedly evading Customs duties and GST payments by showing purchases made in India as “gifts”.
Tuesday’s exercise also saw the ban of several utility apps such as CamCard – Business Card Reader, video streaming apps like WeTV, MangoTV, Taobao Live, and mobile games such as HappyFish, Heroes Evolved and Conquista Online II. The previous rounds of app bans saw the government pulling the plug on several apps with high user bases such as TikTok, PUBG Mobile, WeChat, ShareIt, UCBrowser, CamScanner, Club Factory, Shein etc.
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