In Brief: Data Localisation, NPCI, Retail Payment and RBI’s Authority

Headline : WhatsApp yet to comply with data localisation norms: RBI

Details :

The News

  • Recently, the RBI has made the revelations that WhatsApp is not in compliance with RBI’s data localisation norms.
  • This is the first time ever that the Reserve Bank has made any statement about WhatsApp’s payments business and compliance with data localization norms.


Data localisation norm of RBI

  • As per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) norms, payment firms were supposed to store all their data in India from mid of Oct, 2018.



  • In 2018, WhatsApp started operating its payments business, “WhatsApp Pay”, restricted to one million users.
  • In January 2019, a writ petition was filed by an NGO challenging WhatsApp’s compliance standards and absence of a local grievance officer.
  • After the Supreme Court made the RBI a party to a writ petition, RBI responded in an affidavit that WhatsApp is not in compliance with RBI’s data localisation norms.
  • However, WhatsApp have started only storage mirroring in India, which is not sufficient according to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • The RBI is exploring regulatory actions to expedite compliance of data localisation.

Note: Data mirroring is the process of storing and maintaining copies of a database in another network or location.


About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments in India.
  • It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks Association (IBA) for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.


Other Issues with WhatsApp

  • Besides issues with data localisation, WhatsApp has also been facing problems with its core messaging service.
  • It has been running into trouble with the Indian government over the spread of fake news on its platform.
  • Free messaging has reportedly fuelled hate crimes in the country.



  • India is whatsApp’s largest market with 200 million active users. WhatApp have to act quickly with a timeline if it plans on a full-scale roll-out of its payment service.



Section : Economics