Bajaj Finserv chairman and managing director Sanjiv Bajaj said mobile phone users will soon have the "right to be forgotten" by Bajaj Finance as the non-banking financial company plans to reduce the value of loans pushed via telemarketing calls to less than 10% of its business.

Loans solicited through "push calls" account for less than 15% of the NBFC's business, according to Bajaj. The aim is to bring it down to less than 10% or even take it down to zero so that there would only be service calls, he said during a press conference at the launch of Bajaj Finserv Asset Management Company in Mumbai.

As the NBFC becomes more digital, all promotional activities will happen through digital channels, Bajaj said.

"You will see in three months' time on our website and our web app an option, you click it, we will never bother you again. You'll have the right to be forgotten by us but then make sure you don't come back to us for our products and solutions," Bajaj said on telemarketing calls that are used to push loans.

For the few thousand who do get bothered, a lot of these calls are not actually from Bajaj Finance as there are so many numbers they come from, he said.

"The cross-sell capabilities that we build are on pre-approved loans, insurance, mutual funds within what regulations allow rather than pushing it or pro-actively calling the customer," the Bajaj Finsev chairman said.

These comments come at a time when India's telecom regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has asked service providers such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel to curb the menace of unsolicited commercial communication (UCC).

UCC is a major source of inconvenience to the public and impinges on the privacy of individuals and there has been a consistent focus and drive to implement "UCC detect solutions" in order to control spam on telecom networks, the regulator said earlier this year.

Mobile phone users in India get nearly 17 spam calls on average per month, according to a Truecaller report released in 2021. The vast majority 93.5% of all spam in India are sales or telemarketing calls.

As per Truecaller, one of the common scams in the country remains the KYC (know your customer) scam where fraudsters pretend to be a bank or digital payment service, asking for user KYC documents as mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). TRAI has directed telecom operators to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) based anti-phishing systems to detect spam calls and messages. The regulator has also proposed a framework for sharing UCC data detected by service providers.

Bajaj Finance's net profit rose 30% year-on-year to ₹3,158 crore for the January-March quarter compared with ₹2,420 crore in the corresponding period last year. The non-bank lender's net interest income (NII) increased 28% to ₹7,771 crore in the fourth quarter. The number of new loans booked during the quarter grew 20% to 7.56 million as against 6.28 million in the year-ago period.

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