By Prerna M
Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Traders’ body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents around 8 crore traders across approximately 40,000 trade associations in India, on Monday sought the ‘immediate’ attention of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on “the re-entry of banned Chinese apps (such as SHAREit, CamScanner, etc.) in India under masked identities.”
In a letter sent to the ministers, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal requested for “immediate action against such apps which is a breach of Press Note 1635206 of June 2020 and Press Note 1650669 of September 2020 series published by IT Ministry,” according to a statement by CAIT.
For the uninitiated, India has banned reportedly 321 Chinese apps so far since June 2020 including TikTok, WeChat, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, and more after the border skirmish with China at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. The most recent ban came in February this year when the government banned 54 more Chinese apps citing misuse of data and a threat to India’s sovereignty and security.
CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Khandelwal said that the modus-operandi of these apps is to relaunch themselves with similar looking names and icons. “It is relatively easy to launch apps on the app stores as all one needs is to create a developer account. One can create as many developer accounts with different names…Just a few months after the ban, clone apps started appearing on the Play Store which shows clear signs of being masked clones of the originally banned apps.”
The association urged the government to take appropriate measures to ensure the ban is upheld as it shared names of cloned apps in its letter, for instance, SHAREit clone Share Karo, CamScanner clone Oken and TapScanner. “As the owners of the new clones launched are the same as those of the banned apps, the backend infrastructure, technology, data servers and storage policy is highly likely to be the same as that of the banned apps,” the letter read.