WhatsApp's UPI-based payment service is awaiting regulatory approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). WhatsApp had earlier said it hopes to roll out full-fledged payment services in India later this year. Once launched, WhatsApp payments will compete with the likes of Paytm, Google Pay and PhonePe. Facebook Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg termed India as a "huge market" for Facebook and its group companies, WhatsApp and Instagram. Clegg also said Facebook is "keen to make progress" on rolling out WhatsApp payment services in India.
"We have 400 million WhatsApp users in this country...it's a huge market. As you may know, we have pilot of one million WhatsApp users in this country who are using WhatsApp Pay, we are keen to make a progress on that...We touched on that," Clegg said while on his trip to India.
WhatsApp launched a test run of WhatsApp Payments over a year ago. Earlier, the RBI had clarified that all data related to payments, including those processed abroad, must be stored only in India. Also, in case the payment processing is done overseas, the data should be deleted from the systems there and brought back to India within 24 hours, it had stated.
Clegg on Thursday met IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to raise a few issues including cross-border data flows, information privacy and data sharing between the governments. Clegg said the governments should engage in data sharing among themselves to ensure the security of its citizens, and that such collaboration across jurisdiction is more important than the issue of the physical location of data, per se.
"One of the things that came up (during the meeting) was that one of the effective ways that governments can cooperate with each other to keep their citizens safe is to enter into new agreements with each other to share data for security purposes," Clegg told PTI.
Expressing his views on India's plans to mandate data localisation and also tighten rules for social media platforms, Clegg said data-sharing across jurisdictions is more important than where that information is located physically.
"It is more important how you share data across jurisdictions than where you physically locate it. If you want to use data particularly to make sure people are kept safe and, in our view, the fact that US Congress has allowed CLOUD (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data) Act which allows for agreements with Governments such as India for speedier and automatic data sharing...that is far more effective way of ensuring data is put to good use," Clegg said.
(With inputs from PTI)