After tough talk by govt, Google scrambles to restore 10 Indian apps removed by Play Store

In a significant turn of events, Google has reinstated the 10 Indian apps that were previously removed, thanks to the intervention of the government, according to a report by ANI. Now, Union Minister of Electronics and IT, Ashwini Vaishnaw, is set to convene a meeting with the tech giant on Monday to discuss a long-lasting resolution. This development transpired after Minister Vaishnaw took a firm stance, declaring that the removal of apps from the Google Play Store is not sanctioned.

The restoration of these Indian apps underscores the government’s commitment to safeguarding the interests of local startups and ensuring a conducive environment for their growth. The upcoming meeting between the government and Google is anticipated to delve into the specifics of this intervention and explore avenues for continued collaboration.

Government Takes Strong Stand

In an earlier interview with PTI, IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw emphasised the critical role of the startup ecosystem in the Indian economy, asserting that their fate cannot be subject to the decisions of major tech corporations. Vaishnaw stated, “India is very clear, our policy is very clear…our startups will get the protection that they need.”

India has witnessed remarkable growth in its startup ecosystem, boasting over one lakh startups and more than 100 unicorns within a decade. Minister Vaishnaw underlined the necessity to channel the energy of the youth and entrepreneurs, emphasising that it cannot be dictated by the policies of big tech companies.

In response to Google’s removal of apps, the minister revealed plans for a meeting with Google and the delisted app developers to find a resolution. He categorically stated, “I have already called Google…I have already called the app developers who have been delisted, we will be meeting them next week. This cannot be permitted. This kind of delisting cannot be permitted.”

“I will be telling Google…Our entrepreneurial energy…startups, look at the whole startup India programme, 10 years back we had practically nothing and today we have more than 1,00,000 startups, more than 100 unicorns…this is something…the energy of our youth, the energy of our entrepreneurs, the energy of our talented people that has to be channelised fully well, it cannot be left to the policies of any big tech,” the Minister told PTI.

Reason for removal of apps

The ongoing dispute stems from Google imposing a service fee of 11 to 26 percent on in-app payments, following an order by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to scrap the earlier system of charging 15 to 30 percent. Google proceeded with delisting apps that refused to comply with the new fee structure after the Supreme Court denied interim relief to the companies behind these apps.

While the affected companies, including Bharat Matrimony and Kuku FM, expressed discontent with Google’s actions, the government is gearing up to safeguard the interests of Indian startups. The meeting scheduled for next week is expected to pave the way for a resolution to the escalating tensions between the government, Google, and the affected startups.

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