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Paytm Crisis Could Hit India's Biz Friendly Image: Startups To PM Modi

Prominent Startup Founders have reached out to PM Modi to address Paytm crisis, fearing repercussions on India's business-friendly reputation after RBI sanctions. Concerns raised over potential negative impact on the fintech ecosystem. Read on to explore.

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Swati Dayal
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The fintech startup founders of India have sought intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a constructive dialogue with the startups in the sector fearing Paytm crisis leading to far reaching consequences leaving negative impact “India's image as a business friendly-nation”.

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Fintech Startup Founders Rally Behind Paytm, Seek PM Modi's Intervention

Concerns over RBI Sanctions Spark Plea for Constructive Dialogue

In a notable move, around a dozen startup founders have joined forces to voice their support for Paytm, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reconsider recent sanctions imposed on Paytm Payments Bank (PPB). The founders have penned a letter seeking a constructive dialogue within the fintech ecosystem to address the concerns surrounding the punitive regulations on PPB, expressing fears of potential repercussions on the broader sector.

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Founders Unite in Plea for Dialogue

The letter, endorsed by influential business leaders such as Rajesh Magow of MakeMyTrip, Murugavel Janakiraman of Bharat Matrimony, and Deepak Shenoy of CapitalMind, among others, emphasizes the need for an open discussion to resolve the issues at hand. The founders assert that the RBI's sanctions against PPB could have extensive and detrimental consequences for the entire fintech ecosystem.

Image of India as a Business-Friendly Nation at Stake

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In addition to urging reconsideration of the sanctions, the letter highlights the potential impact on India's image as a business-friendly nation. The founders express concerns that the ongoing crisis surrounding Paytm could create a negative perception of India's business environment and hinder its reputation as an attractive destination for startups and investors.

However, it is worth noting that the letter's failure to gain broader support within the startup ecosystem is attributed to a reluctance among some to challenge the central bank, possibly out of fear of facing similar repercussions.

RBI's Action Against Paytm Payments Bank Unveiled

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The plea comes in the aftermath of the RBI's decision last Wednesday to impose restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank. The central bank prohibited the bank from accepting further deposits and conducting any transactions on customer accounts or digital wallets beyond February 29. This move sent shockwaves across the startup ecosystem, impacting not only Paytm but also raising concerns among other fintech players.

The crisis unfolded rapidly, resulting in a decline in Paytm shares and causing widespread confusion among its vast user base of 300 million customers and 20 million merchants. For many, the Paytm application and its affiliate, PPB, have become synonymous, adding to the overall uncertainty.

Paytm Responds Amidst Regulatory Storm

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Since the RBI's crackdown, Paytm has been actively communicating with its users, regularly issuing clarifications and reassurances about the safety of their funds. The company anticipates a "worst-case" impact of Rs 300-500 crore on its annual EBIDTA due to the regulatory actions taken by the RBI.

In response to recent media reports, Paytm also refuted claims of any Enforcement Directorate action against its parent company, One97 Communications, or founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, dismissing allegations of money laundering.

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Paytm's Journey and Fintech Landscape in India

Founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2009 in Uttar Pradesh's Noida, Paytm's affiliate, PPB, received its license in 2015 and commenced operations in November 2017. The company has played a pivotal role in shaping India's fintech landscape, and the recent regulatory developments have sparked a broader conversation about the challenges faced by the sector and the need for a balanced regulatory framework. As the fintech community awaits responses from PM Modi and the RBI, the outcome of this dialogue could have lasting implications for India's startup ecosystem and its global image.

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