My Story – PMO exposed in May 2018.
The gestures and nuances of talks of Ajay Shekhar Sharma, SVP of Paytm, in the sting video conducted by senior investigative journalist Pushp Sharma (known for his Undercover operations in India) apparently depicts the close association with political party in power and RSS, and all this leads the conclusion that there’s is a closely knitted nexus between Indian political parties, extremist groups and so called ‘Startups’.
On November 8, 2016, the Government of India announced the demonetization of all Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes with an aim to curtail the shadow economy and crack down on the use of illicit and counterfeit cash to fund illegal activity and terrorism. The exercise was described as “a case study in poor policy and even poorer execution” by the Harvard Business Review.
The sting operation exposed government and BJP fully because it was speculated earlier as well. The decision to carry the PM’s image sparked political rumours – whether Paytm knew the decision, how could a company take a decision so quick, whether BJP was hand in glove with the company.
The announcement was made by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, in a live televised address late in the evening, and the next morning on November 9, leading newspapers in India had full-page advertisements on the front page from Paytm congratulating the Prime Minister for ‘taking the boldest decision in the financial history of independent India’. Many criticized the company for hailing the government’s move since the sudden nature of the announcement and the prolonged cash shortages in the weeks that followed created significant disruption throughout the economy.
This article goes defining
Demonetisation: How Paytm gained from note ban and why it used PM Modi’s pic in ads
Paytm COO reveals for the first time ever how the company managed to get ads published in front pages of newspapers just the night after demonetisation and how the company has grown since then…
Note – Officially private companies can’t use photograph of PM but PAYTM and JIO (company of Modi’ friend richest Indian Mukesh Ambani did )
Paytm’s affinity with the BJP Government
In the alleged conversation, Ajay clearly states his political affiliations and shares that the company has done a lot for the ‘Sangh’, a reference to Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that ideologically steers the ruling Indian government.
On May 25, investigative news publication, Cobrapost released a video as part of an exhaustive ‘sting’ operation dubbed ‘Operation 136’. The investigative report is based on an interaction with an undercover journalist Pushp Sharma posing as a religious organization’s head looking for an opportunity to peddle its propaganda via Paytm and the company’s e-commerce store, Paytm Mall.
Background and Connection with PM –
Paytm and rivals saw multi-fold growth the night after demonetization
According to Forbes, its speculated worth close to 20 Billion US$
In March 2015, Paytm received its funding from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group based in Hangzhou, China , after Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate, took 25% stake in One97 as part of a strategic agreement.
PAYTM owner Vijay Shekhar Sharma with PM
PMO denied giving details under Right of Information Act 2005-
• This is the response from PMO – Post May 2018 (post airing sting operation) people made independent effort to take information from PMO in this regard but as usual, PMO didn’t disclose any information. Neither PMO ordered to conduct any inquiry in this matter and didn’t respond even.
Paytm was, of course, one of the biggest beneficiaries of demonetization (along with other mobile wallet services). Due to the cash shortage, more and more people signed up for mobile wallets and in the next one month, Paytm added over 20 million new users and Vijay Shekhar Sharma became India’s youngest billionaire.
Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Company owner) and his staff saw an opportunity and put everything they had into it; Sharma has said that he and his staff did 600 days’ worth of work in 60. They ran full-page ads the following day praising Modi for “taking the boldest decision in the financial history of independent India,” a stunt that was not without its critics. Opposition politician Rahul Gandhi suggested Paytm stood for “Pay to Modi” (it is actually Payment through mobile).
Sharma’s catch-phrase is ‘Go big or go home’ – it is on his office wall, on his coffee mugs, all over his interviews – and he certainly ran big on demonetization.
Next Course of Action
Needless to say as both the company and the government are in question, its a matter of serious question who will investigate into this matter further. In past, over dozen of media outlets including a Softbank-backed digital media startup was uncovered for peddling propaganda but since then not a iota of investigation or inquiry was proposed from government or any of its agencies.
Earlier Prime Minister Modi’s own app Namo was also accused of giving users data to a company outside the country. This too was denied by govt agencies and the case was set aside without doing any investigation further.
Can you #DeletePaytm?
A lot of social media chatter since the Cobrapost exposé is about users deleting their Paytm account because of the privacy breach and the mingling with the government. Mostly a knee-jerk reaction, it is also fueled by that uninspiring clarification by Paytm.
Yet, for those interested in closing their accounts, Paytm does not make it easy. There’s no option on the Web or on the apps to delete one’s account. The only legitimate way to request closure of the account is by writing to the company’s support email.
Then again, many believe that the account is just deactivated and the user information is not necessarily expunged. Paytm also has to come clean on this while offering a better mechanism for users jumping the ship.
At the moment, it’s stormy waters all around.