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Paytm-led Indian startups to unionise against Google; Vijay Shekhar Sharma throws down the gauntlet

BusinessToday.In     September 21, 2020

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has called for formation of a new grouping which gives equal representation to the domestic tech firms. Since established industry bodies such as NASSCOM and IAMAI are dominated by tech companies of the US-origin, such a platform would ensure all local tech firms have their voices fairly represented, Sharma said. The development comes days after Paytm being taken off the Play Store by Google for allegedly violating its gambling policies.

"Founders are coming together and there is a discussion on this topic. We will be talking to the government, lawmakers, regulators," The Economic Times reported cited Sharma as saying. "We would like to amplify the voice of the Indian startup community and our technology companies."

Recently, Google temporarily removed the digital payments app from its Play Store for running a scratch card-based cricket promotion which allegedly violated its gambling policies. The action taken was in reference to the 'Paytm Cricket League' game in Paytm First Games section on the consumer app that allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and get cashback in exchange.

Sharma said that similar features were running elsewhere including on Google's own payments app. Paytm would also seek government and regulatory intervention in this matter, Sharma said.

On Saturday, Sharma had said that this is a problem being faced by various companies where a monopoly of a few players exists. The Indian firms are being subjected to actions by those beyond the purview of the country's laws, he had also said.

"You've got a player which regulates India's digital ecosystem, while competing with many companies in the same ecosystem," Bloomberg had reported citing Madhur Deora, president, One97 Communications, which owns Paytm, as saying. "They have all the levers and can decide which app can be brought down and when - how is that not a problem?"

Also read: Paytm blames Google of discrimination after app removed from Play Store

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