According to Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat K Karad, Google has eliminated 2,200 fraudulent loan apps from the Play Store. The government is actively collaborating with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other relevant regulators and stakeholders to curb the proliferation of fraudulent loan apps, as stated in a written response to Rajya Sabha.
“As per the information received from MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), during April 2021-July 2022, Google had reviewed approximately 3,500 to 4,000 loan apps and suspended/removed over 2,500 loan apps from its Play Store,” he said.
Karad further highlighted that between September 2022 and August 2023, more than 2,200 loan apps were removed from the Google Play Store.
“Further, Google has updated its policy regarding enforcement of loan apps on the Play Store and only those apps are allowed on the Play Store which are published by Regulated Entities (REs) or those working in partnership with REs. It has also deployed additional policy requirements with strict enforcement actions for loan apps in India,” he said.
The RBI has issued regulatory guidelines on digital lending, aimed at strengthening the regulatory framework for digital lending, enhancing customer protection, and ensuring the safety and stability of the digital lending ecosystem.
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has been diligently analyzing digital lending apps on an ongoing basis to combat cybercrime. To enable citizens to report cyber incidents, including illegal loan apps, the MHA has launched the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) and the National Cybercrime Helpline number ‘1930’.
The government has undertaken various initiatives to raise awareness about cybercrimes, including providing cyber safety tips through social media platforms, publishing handbooks for adolescents/students, and disseminating ‘Information Security Best Practices’ for government officials. Additionally, cyber safety and security awareness weeks are organized in collaboration with states/Union Territories.
Moreover, RBI and banks have conducted cybercrime awareness campaigns through SMS, radio campaigns, and publicity efforts to prevent cybercrime. RBI also conducts electronic banking awareness and training (e-BAAT) programs focused on raising awareness about frauds and risk mitigation.
In response to another query, Karad mentioned the launch of the JanSamarth Portal to facilitate access to loans under credit-linked government schemes. As of December 2023, a total of 1,83,903 beneficiaries have availed loans under schemes linked to the JanSamarth portal.
Karad also addressed fraud cases related to UPI, reporting 7.25 cases during 2022-23, with the amount involved totaling ₹573 crore.