scorecardresearch
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat hits out at lack of OTT & Bitcoin regulations

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat hits out at lack of OTT & Bitcoin regulations

Referring to Bitcoins, Bhagwat said that there is no clarity on which country or what regulations control a currency like Bitcoin.

Caption- RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments come against the backdrop of the Centre's ongoing efforts to regulate OTT players, social media platforms and digital content providers in the country. Caption- RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments come against the backdrop of the Centre's ongoing efforts to regulate OTT players, social media platforms and digital content providers in the country.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Friday criticised the use of Bitcoins and the lack of content regulation on OTT (Over-the-Top) platforms, dragging to the fore again the contentious issue surrounding the multi-million dollar streaming business in India. 

"After the outbreak of the pandemic, nearly every child has a mobile phone and what they watch on their cellphones is not controlled," said the chief of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's parent organisation while addressing a group of Swayamsevaks in Nagpur on Vijayadashami. 

His comments come against the backdrop of the Centre's ongoing efforts to regulate OTT players, social media platforms and digital content providers in the country. 

Also Read: India's adoption of cryptocurrency will pave way for the next dotcom like revolution, says industry

On February 25, the government's IT ministry had notified the 'Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code' to make big tech companies set up a faster and more efficient grievance redressal mechanism and also increase regulatory control over them. 

Among various provisions, the Ethics Code mandates that OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ Hotstar have to make their content more secure for children by labelling it under one of the five age-based categories and provide a mechanism of parental lock in their services.  

Content involving nudity and morphed pictures of women will have to be removed in 24 hours. 

The companies have to establish a three-tier grievance redressal framework, including an India-based grievance redressal officer who has to resolve all complaints within 15 days.  

Certain provisions of the Ethics Code have since been facing legal challenges in the courts of Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. Most recently, the high courts of Madras and Bombay have stayed the operation of certain provisions.  

OTT is a hotly contested space in India, with PwC estimating that it will be a $2.9 billion market by 2024. 

The country is also an important market for US giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney with its 1.3 billion-strong population. India is already home to more than 40 OTT apps even as newer regional players enter the fray every few months.

Also Read: Bitcoin nears $60,000 as investors look at first US ETFs

With only 353 million OTT users in the country users so far, according to a report by Ormax Media, the country offers huge scope for growth for these players, especially as smartphones penetrate deeper into the smaller towns and villages. 

Referring to Bitcoins, Bhagwat said that there is no clarity on which country or what regulations control a currency like Bitcoin. He further added that the Indian government needs to control these things and do something for the benefit of society.  

This assumes significance as a recent report by broker comparison platform BrokerChooser has highlighted the fact that India has the maximum number of cryptocurrency owners at over 10 crore - far ahead of the US that is at second spot with nearly 2.8 crore entities.   

However, in terms of percentage of population that owns cryptocurrency, India ranks fifth at 7.30 per cent. Ukraine leads the pack at 12.73 per cent, followed by Russia, Kenya and the US.

Also Read: New ethics code for OTT, digital media; all you need to know

Meanwhile, the Indian government has regularly raised fed flags over cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.

Earlier this week, there were reports that cryptocurrency exchanges have started blocking certain suspicious accounts after the government said digital currencies are being used for money laundering.  

The huge surge in the price of Bitcoin gas also attracted many investors to the cryptocurrency. In the current calendar year, prices have gained nearly 24 per cent to touch nearly $59,600 per bitcoin. Further, Bitcoin prices have registered a five-fold rise in the last one year.