The union finance ministry today said 2,562 complaints against digital lending apps have been received between January 1, 2020 and March 31 last year. It may be noted that this is the period during which digital lending apps gained currency amid job losses on account of the lockdown imposed by the government to handle the Covid-19 outbreak. Maharashtra tops the list with 572 complaints.

"As per the findings of RBI's Working Group on digital lending, the number of illegal lending apps stood at approximately 600 from 1.1.2021 to 28.2.2021. As per "Sachet" - a portal established by RBI under State Level Coordination Committee mechanism for registering complaints by public against unregistered entities has received approximately 2,562 complaints against digital lending apps from 1.1.2020 to 31.3.2021," the finance ministry told the Lok Sabha in a reply to query raised by congress MP Manish Tewari on the matter. Towards the end of 2020, a number of cases of suicide due to harassment from by the executives of the lending apps were reported.

According to the reply from the ministry, Maharashtra tops the list with 572 complaints against such apps between January 2020 and March 2021, followed by Karnataka (394 complaints), Delhi (352 complaints), and Haryana 314 cases. 185 complaints were received from Telangana, 144 from Andhra Pradesh, 142 from Uttar Pradesh, and 138 from West Bengal.

"The Department of Supervision, RBI has been designated as the nodal department for dealing with complaints against unauthorised digital lending platforms/mobile apps and a mechanism to handle specific references on unauthorised digital lending platforms/mobile apps has been laid down," the ministry said in its reply.

It also underlined the fact that RBI had cautioned the general public not to fall prey to unscrupulous activities of unauthorised digital lending platforms/mobile apps and verify the antecedents of the company/firm offering such loans.

"RBI has also issued advisories to state governments to keep a check on unauthorised digital lending platforms/mobile apps through their respective law enforcement agencies. Further, following the due process specified in Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009 notified under section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology blocked 27 unlawful loan lending apps," the finance ministry said.

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