New Delhi: The government on Tuesday informed Parliament that Google has suspended or removed more than 2,200 fraudulent loan apps from its Play Store between September 2022 and August 2023.
The government is constantly engaged with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and other regulators and stakeholders concerned to control fraudulent loan apps, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat K Karad said in a written reply 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.
Similarly, he said, during September 2022-August 2023, over 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 Reserve Bank has issued regulatory guidelines on digital lending, which aims at firming up the regulatory framework for digital lending, while enhancing customer protection and making the digital lending ecosystem safe and sound, he said.
The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been proactively analysing the digital lending apps on a continuous basis, he said.
In order to facilitate the citizens to report cyber incidents, including illegal loan apps, he said, MHA has launched a National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) as well as a National Cybercrime Helpline number '1930'.
To spread awareness against cybercrimes, he said, the government has been taking various initiatives from time to time which include cyber safety tips through social media accounts, publishing of handbook for adolescents/students, publishing of 'Information Security Best practices' for the benefit of government officials, organising cyber safety and security awareness weeks in association with states/Union Territories etc.
In addition to these, he said, RBI and banks have also been taking cybercrime awareness campaigns through dissemination of messages on cybercrime through SMS (Short Messaging Service), radio campaigns, and publicity on prevention of 'cybercrime'.
Further, RBI has been conducting electronic banking awareness and training (e-BAAT) programmes, which focus on awareness about frauds and risk mitigation, he said.
In a reply to another question, Karad said, JanSamarth Portal was launched to provide a common platform for availing loans under credit-linked government schemes.
A total of 1,83,903 beneficiaries have availed loans under the said schemes linked to the JanSamarth portal since its launch till December 2023, he said.
Karad, in a separate reply, said 7.25 cases of fraud related to UPI were reported during 2022-23. The amount involved in these fraud cases was Rs 573 crore.