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No nod to WhatsApp to go live on full scale UPI ops: RBI

WhatsApp had already informed the top court that it would not roll out its payment service without full compliance with the norms.

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WhatsApp UPI Payment

New Delhi, July 31 : The RBI has told the Supreme Court it has not granted permission to WhatsApp to go live for full scale operations on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment system.

The central bank, in its counter-affidavit, said: “Reserve Bank had examined the said reports and the responses of the NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) and was concerned that WhatsApp was storing some payment data elements outside India beyond the permitted timelines indicated in the circular and the Frequently Asked Questions on ‘Storage of Payment System Data’ issued by RBI on June 26, 2019.”

“It is specifically denied that the RBI has granted permission to WhatsApp to go live for full scale operations on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment system.”

The RBI also denied that its circular on April 6, 2018 on “Storage of Payment System Data” has been toned down by FAQs issued on June 26, 2019. “It is submitted that Payment System Operators (PSOs) had sought clarification on certain implementation issues, from time to time, from Reserve Bank and the FAQs are intended to provide clarity on those issues to facilitate and ensure expeditious compliance by all PSOs,” said the affidavit.

The RBI acknowledged that the NPCI had communicated to it the System Audit Report and the Post Change Review Report sent to it by WhatsApp, which touched upon the details concerning storage of payment system data. The RBI said that accordingly, by letter dated November 1, 2019, the NPCI was advised to ensure that the payment data elements, as referred to therein, are not stored by WhatsApp outside India beyond permitted timelines.

In addition, the NPCI was advised to ensure that WhatsApp does not store any of the payment transaction data elements in hashed/de-identified/encrypted form in its systems outside India. “The NPCI was also advised not to permit WhatsApp to go live for full scale operations on the UPI payment system, till the time they are fully compliant,” said the RBI.

Subsequently, the NPCI had, through its letter dated January 7, said that they had received a letter from WhatsApp agreeing to complete all the pending issues by May 31, and requesting permission to go live.

The NPCI had then requested RBI’s approval to grant final ‘go-live’ to WhatsApp on UPI, subject “to (a) the third-party audit report confirming closure of the committed 2 items, and (b) acceptable VA/config reports from third party auditor”.

WhatsApp had already informed the top court that it would not roll out its payment service without full compliance with the norms.

The RBI’s response came on an application filed by the Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change, through advocate Virag Gupta, seeking a complete stoppage of the trials being conducted by WhatsApp Pay, alleging that the company has continued beta testing on its payments system on 1 million users in violation of data localisation norms in India.

Business

Mi India’s Republic Day Sale: List of TVs, Smart Bands, and Smartphones available at Huge discounts

Flipkart VIP, Amazon Prime, and Mi VIP Club members will be able to take advantage of this sale from January 19, a day before.

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Amazon Flipkart

Mi India has announced the Republic Day offer. The sale offers huge discount offers on a variety of products including smartphones, smart TVs, and Smart Bands.

Mi India’s Republic Days offer sale will start from 12 noon on January 20, 2021, which will continue till 11.59 PM on the night of January 24, 2021.

This offer can be enjoyed on the e-commerce sites Amazon, Flipkart, and Mi.com. Flipkart VIP, Amazon Prime, and Mi VIP Club members will be able to take advantage of this sale from January 19, a day before.

Mi Smart Band 4

Selling Price – 2,299

Sale price – 1,899

Mi TV Stick

Selling Price – 2,799

Sale price -2,299

Mi Box 4K

Selling Price – 3,499

Sale price – 3,299

Mi LED TV 4A PRO 108 cm (43)

Selling Price – 24,999

Sale Price – 23,999

Mi LED TV 4X 50

Selling Price – 34,999

Sale Price – 33,999

Mi Watch Revolve Midnight Black & Silver

Selling Price – 10,999

Sale price – 8,999

Earphones (TWS) – Mi True Wireless Earphones 2C

Selling Price – 2,499

Sale Price – 1,999

Earphones (TWS) – Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Selling Price – 3,999

Sale price – 2,499

Mi Beard Trimmer 1C

Selling Price – 999

Sale Price – 799

Mi Smart Water Purifier (RO+UV)

Selling Price – 12,999

Sale price – 9,999

Redmi Earbuds S

Selling Price – 1,799

Sale price – 1,499

Redmi Smart Band

Selling Price – 1,599

Sale price – 1,299

Redmi 9i (4+ 64GB)

Selling Price – 8,299

Sale price – 7,999

Redmi 9 Prime (4+64GB)

Selling Price – 9,999

Sale price – 9,499

Redmi Note 9 (6+128GB)

Selling Price – 14,999

Sale price – 13,999

Redmi Note 9 Pro (4+128GB)

Selling Price – 15,999

Sale price – 13,999

Redmi Note 9 Pro Max (6+64GB)

Selling Price – 16,999

Sale Price – 14,999

Mi LED TV 4A PRO 80 cm (32)

Selling Price – 14,999

Sale Price – 14,499

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Dogfight: Airlines unleash deep discounts to dominate the sky

IndiGo’s Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said: “Low fares always helps stimulate the demand for the travel period far out and works as a part of airline strategy.”

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Preparing for Landing

New Delhi, Jan 19 : Fare wars induced deep discounting has reappeared in India’s aviation sector, as airlines seek to augment cash reserves, consolidate market share and bring back more capacity.

The first shot in this war of extremely low prices was fired recently with most airlines commencing their sales offers.

The development comes around a year since Covid-19 lockdown devastated the sector.

Industry insiders, however, now believe that the roll-out of anti-Covid-19 vaccination programme will give a boost to air travel.

Besides, some of the travel period offered under these schemes are beyond the current expiry of the fare cap imposed by the Centre.

IndiGo’s Chief Strategy and Revenue Officer Sanjay Kumar said: “Low fares always helps stimulate the demand for the travel period far out and works as a part of airline strategy.”

“These sales stimulate traffic among extremely price sensitive customers and helps airlines meet overall objectives.”

The latest passenger traffic data from the sector regulator DGCA indicate that the growth in passenger volumes is not yet adequate enough for a revival in the airline sector.

The aggregate passenger traffic in December 2020 at 73.27 lakh was still 43.7 per cent lower on a year-on-year basis.

“Lack of adequate demand in the post festive season along with higher available capacity has therefore, led a drop in passenger load factor for some of the airlines in December 2020 on a sequential basis vis-a-vis Nov 2020,” said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer at Acuite Ratings & Research.

“Such a scenario is possibly leading to a deep discounting strategy from airline companies. This involves sale of seats over the next few months through an attractive discount or add ons to ensure higher PLF over the next 1-2 quarters.”

Nevertheless, deep discounts are expected to hurt the already fragile financial condition of the sector.

“It will have an impact on the profitability of airline operations which has already been under losses in the last few quarters. In our opinion, however, passenger demand will witness a significant improvement in the next few months with the tapering of the Covid infection rate as well as the progress on the vaccination,” Chowdhury said.

Apart from ensuring a minimum PLF in the coming months, experts contend that deep discounts will trigger liquidity enhancement for airlines.

“Low airfares this month indicate the expected dip in travel post holiday season in December. Airfares in Jan across key routes have decreased 15-20 per cent MoM,” said Rajnish Kumar, Co-founder & CTO, ixigo.

“Heavy discounts being rolled out by major domestic and international airlines will definitely woo travellers who are planning vacations this year. With government caps ending on March 31, the discounts will attract flyers to plan their trips in advance and accelerate recovery in bookings to pre-Covid levels this year.”

On the other hand, the government has till now permitted the industry players to operate at 80 per cent of their pre-Covid capacity.

The operational capacity deployment level is expected to reach pre-Covid mark by the end of calendar year’s first quarter.

“In the current scenario of impact on demand due to the pandemic, while some aircraft continue to be grounded, the passenger load factors (PLFs) of airlines have also been impacted despite the lower capacity,” said Kinjal Shah, Vice President, ICRA.

“Thus, airlines have to take a calculated call on fares and its impact on demand.”

(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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