After months of anticipation, WhatsApp, the online messaging service, officially has the payments app as a part of its features. The online messaging system rolled out this feature only to select users across the country and within the short time of its introduction, it has become one of the most popular features of this app.
However, this induction almost did not happen because of the company’s foreign origin. In fact, this was WhatsApp’s second attempt on this front. Last year, this messaging service had tried to partner with a private bank in the country to develop a digital wallet app to facilitate payments on its platform.
All was fine till the bank and WhatsApp went to the Reserve Bank of India. Multiple stakeholders of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was not ready to allow a foreign entity to enter India’s digital payments space. According to RBI guidelines, “Non bank entities applying for authorisation shall be a company incorporated in India and registered under the Companies Act 1956 / Companies Act 2013.”
WhatsApp is a Facebook owned company and Facebook is based in the United States. Ergo, this means this company could not directly enter the Indian online payments wallet. This was last year. What changed from then to now is the fact that Government actively started promoting the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as part of its push to digitise India’s economy.
UPI allows for real time bank to bank transactions and once WhatsApp was sure this move was finalized, they jumped on the bandwagon. Facebook messenger service has had a decent run with the payments system and based on Facebook’s track record, the company decided to integrate this feature into WhatsApp as well. However, while this move came as a positive change for the messaging service, it brings to mind one important question.
Is this going to change the online payments game for banks and other companies? Is this service coming on board as a threat or as a new turn in the history of online payments? Consumer payments is a low margin game and is entirely defined by the scale of operations. On this front, WhatsApp has the potential to become a dominant game changer because of its base of 250 billion users all over the country.
Despite all its advantages, WhatsApp has one thing going against it. A little while after becoming live, the messaging service ran into a series of problems especially with Paytm raising a huge hue and cry about the safety of WhatsApp online payments. One bank which jumped on board with WhatsApp’s online payment feature is ICICI bank. India’s largest private sector bank was the first to team up with WhatsApp on this feature and it looks like the other banks are just minutes away.
With banks coming on board with WhatsApp’s new feature, it is interesting to see how two separate forces from different areas are coming together to create history for the first time. Clearly the times are changing and this move seems to be just one of those steps for an interesting future ahead.
Indian Origin Arvind Krishna To Take Over As IBM Chief Executive Officer
International Business Machines Corporation, more popularly known as IBM, is an American multinational company which majorly deals in information technology. One of the biggest companies in the world, IBM currently ranks 38 on the Fortune 500 list of companies.
IBM offers a portfolio of interests in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, analytics, commerce, data and the Internet of Things. The company was helmed by Virginia Rometty, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO.) Now, Arvind Krishna will take over the reins as the new CEO of IBM.
Arvind Krishna is a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and has a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. Arvind Krishna previously worked as IBM’s Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software.
Virginia Rometty will retire after 40 years at IBM. She was the first woman head of IBM. Virginia Rometty remarked about the appointment of Arvind Krishna and said he is the right person to lead the Company into the cloud computing era. Multiple companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle and Adobe are heavily investing in cloud computing as well.
Arvind Krishna’s appointment as the CEO of IBM was welcomed by Indians as Arvind Krishna joins a unique club of Indian origin CEOs. This club includes Satya Nadella (Microsoft,) Sundar Pichai (Google and Alphabet,) Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo,) Ajay Banga (MasterCard) and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe.)
Arvind Krishna will take over as IBM’s CEO on April 6th, 2020.
Read About How Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai here: Sundar Pichai To Lead Alphabet Inc As New CEO
Women Startup Summit – Ecosystem For Women Entrepreneurs In India To Be Promoted
The Women Startup Summit was held recently in Kochi and was hosted by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM,) in association with the Indian Women Network, under the Confederation of Indian Industries. The summit brought together various women entrepreneurs and women leaders from different parts of India, who shared their experiences and stories with a crowd of students and aspiring entrepreneurs.
The main topic of the day long summit was to tackle the problems which restrict the women of Kerala from entering the field of entrepreneurship. The topic was discussed by the speakers of the summit, which included Kerala State Planning Board member Dr. Mridul Eapen and Kerala IT Secretary M. Sivasankar. Mr. Sivasankar listed the three main reasons which stop the women of the State from venturing into the business sector.
The first of the three reasons he stated was “social barriers,” such as girl students not being able to put in more study hours at their school or college because of strict hostel rules imposed for their safety. The second reason cited by Sivasankar was the increased need for experienced woman with professional experience of 5 to 10 years heading “brown startups.” The third reason mentioned was the lack of women coordinators at the KSUM Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centres.
Dr. Mridula Eapen said the lack of awareness among the women of Kerala about their potential may be a factor in less women opting for a career in the field of entrepreneurship. She stated in her inaugural speech, “The proposals and points emerging in a meet like this will have their resonance in the policy making decisions of the board. The summit is definitely a strong step towards women empowerment.”
The meet also hosted the “She Loves Tech 2019 Global Startup Competition,” with Dr. Nusrat Sanghamitra of CyCa OncoSolutions winning the competition.
Despite having a high literacy rate only few women from Kerala are willing to venture into the field of startup. Kerala Government organized the Women Startup Summit in an effort to eliminate this problem and encourage the women of Kerala to participate more in the startup industry.
Union Budget 2019 – Startups Get Major Advantages
The Union Budget of India is mostly about giving us an insight into how the government decides to spend public funds for the overall development of the Country.
India’s Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, presented her maiden budget to the Parliament on Friday and walked us through the various plans which may take India’s economy to $ 5 trillion by 2025.
The Indian startup ecosystem felt, the Interim Budget, which was helmed by Piyush Goyal in February, had overlooked their problems.
However, giving a major boost to thousands of startups across the Country, the Narendra Modi led Government announced a list of measures the Government is going to take to “release the entrepreneurial spirit” in the Country.
Keep reading to find out what the Budget for new India has in store for business heads and startup founders.
Budget 2019 highlights for startups
1) The Modi Government will soon launch a TV program exclusively for the startups in India, which will air on the Doordarshan channel. This program will serve as a medium through which emerging startups could meet venture capitalists and investors. This TV program will be directed, executed and run by startups themselves.
2) The Startup India Scheme, which was launched in 2016 to support entrepreneurship among women and marginal segments of the society by providing them financial assistance, has produced more than 300 entrepreneurs as of today. Mrs. Sitharaman said, this scheme will continue till 2025. This can prove to be a major boost for aspiring entrepreneurs.
3) A reduction in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Income Tax for electric vehicle (EV) makers and owners has been proposed in the Parliament. This move could prove to be profitable for EV startups in the Country.
4) Sitharaman announced, startups will no longer be under the scrutiny of Angel Tax. Angel tax is applicable to startups which have raised their capital by selling shares above the market value. This excess capital is considered as income and taxed accordingly, a move which was started in 2012. The waiver of angel tax could be a huge relief for startup owners.
5) The Finance Minister proposed a 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) to insurance intermediaries. The FDI limit is currently 49 %. Apart from this, the Government also announced 100 % FDI in single brand retail startups. Startups like PepperFry and UrbanLadder, which operate single brand stores, will benefit from this move.
6) The Government will also establish around 100 business incubators—80 for livelihood businesses and 20 for tech, in the financial year 2019-20. According to the Government, this will help create up to 75,000 skilled entrepreneurs.
7) Businesses with an annual turnover below Rs. 5 crores can file quarterly GST returns, said Sitharaman.
Apart from all this, the several measures announced for labour laws, rental segment and education can have an indirect impact on the startups of our Country. With so many incentives announced to boost the Indian startup ecosystem, we may see a substantial growth in Indian startups.
What is your opinion about Union Budget 2019? Comment below and let us know.
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