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Policy Wrap: Ban on e-cigarettes, RBI’s plan to regulate payment intermediaries top moves

Policy Wrap: Ban on e-cigarettes, RBI’s plan to regulate payment intermediaries top moves
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The union cabinet has approved an ordinance banning all electronic cigarettes including electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), heat not burn products, e-hookahs and others. 

The move comes after the government issued an advisory in 2018 to ban e-cigarettes to all states and union territories with 16 states and one UT already implementing the law. 

The ordinance states that “these products may act as gateway products to induce non-smokers, especially youth and adolescents, to nicotine-use, leading to addiction and subsequent use of conventional tobacco products.” 

As part of its draft intermediary guidelines issued in December 2018, the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) had also suggested banning ENDS products as it threatens public health and safety. It includes the likes of US-based JUUL, which has been planning an India launch by 2019.  

RBI prohibits sharing of consumer credit data by banks, NBFCs 

In a letter sent to all commercial banks and non-banking lenders, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked the entities not share the database of credit companies with partner fintech companies and institutional agents. 

According to the letter, these practices are in violation of Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act 2005 (CICRA). 

While digital lenders use non-conventional data points for credit scoring, the credit rating of consumers from the credit bureaus is a key metric for these companies. Digital lenders that hold an NBFC licence will not be impacted by the move. 

The RBI letter asked all lenders to apprise it of measures taken to curb the practice within 15 days, The Economic Times reported. 

RBI to regulate payment gateways and aggregators

A discussion paper published earlier this week by the RBI laid down a set of guidelines for the regulation of payment gateway service providers and payment aggregators such as CCAvenue as well as those operated by ecommerce entities like Amazon Pay and Ola Money.

If the guidelines come into effect, the ecommerce entities will be required, within a year’s time, to ensure that the operations of these payment entities are conducted at arm’s distance.  

The guidelines also require all payment aggregators to comply with a net worth of Rs 100 crore failing which the businesses will have to wind up operations.

Committee to discuss provisions of business data

After back and forth on regulating community and business-related data, MeitY has made it clear that these will be excluded from the Personal Data Protection Bill. 

Instead, a seven-member committee chaired by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan was constituted last week to look into designing a governance framework for community and business data.

The committee will also take a call on storage and regulation of ecommerce data, which was initially a part of the draft national policy on ecommerce by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT).

Other members of the panel include Debjani Ghosh, president of the industry body Nasscom, additional or joint secretary from DPIIT, Lalitesh Katragadda, CTO of Avanti Finance and others.

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