Relief for Ola, Uber, Rapido as Delhi HC lifts curbs on bike taxis; India, EU to work on tech rules

Happy Friday! Good vibes coming your way as we start the weekend. Also some relief for Ola, Uber and Rapido as the Delhi High Court set aside the order halting bike taxi operators from plying in the national capital. This and more in today’s edition of ETtech Top 5.

Also in this letter:
■ OpenAI has no plans to leave Europe
■ ETtech Deals Digest
■ Ashneer Grover has “removed defamatory posts” against BharatPe

HC sets aside Delhi govt’s notice halting services of Rapido, Uber, Ola, others

bike taxi rep

In what brings respite to aggregators Uber, Ola and Rapido, the Delhi High Court stayed the public notice issued by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi preventing these platforms from operating their bike taxi services in the capital city.

Driving the news: A division bench comprising Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna directed the transport department not to take any coercive steps against the bike taxi operators till such time that a policy is notified by the state government.

Background: ETtech reported in February that bike taxi operators such as Ola, Uber and Rapido were warned not to ply on Delhi roads as they violated motor vehicle laws. These companies were told that they could be fined up to Rs 1 lakh, as the use of bikes for commercial purposes violated the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The state government directed them to pause operations immediately to avoid prosecution and penalties.

What’s next? The Delhi government has already issued a draft aggregator policy recognising bike taxi operators as long as they ply electric vehicles. The policy, which is yet to be finalised, has been put out for stakeholder consultations.

Big picture: Despite the relief in Delhi, bike taxi operators still face hurdles in Mumbai, where regional transport offices (RTOs) have been cracking down on two-wheeler aggregators since February. Operators in the country’s commercial capital may well seek and obtain a similar stay.

India, EU to work on rules, standards for tech industry: MoS IT

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Minister of state for IT & electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Months after signing a strategic partnership with the US on critical and emerging technology, India has now decided to work with the EU on rules and standards for the broader industry, including Big Tech and top social media giants, states a TOI report.

Tell me more: Minister of state for IT & electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the government expects joint ventures and investments in semiconductors and electronics with Europe, apart from manufacturing partnerships in India under the agreement signed during his recent ministerial visit to Brussels.

Quote, unquote: “India and the EU have agreed to work on creating trusted and resilient supply chains for electronics, in semiconductors, AI, quantum computing, and emerging technologies. We will also work together to shape the future of regulations for the internet in areas such as privacy and user harm,” the minister told TOI.

AI regulations: ET reported on May 23 citing sources that seven working groups constituted under India’s National programme for Artificial Intelligence (AI) are likely to submit recommendations for a comprehensive framework governing various facets of AI in the next two weeks.

No plans to leave Europe: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

Elon Musk attacking us as he is stressed about AI safety: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman clarified on Friday his company has no intentions of leaving Europe and is in fact, “excited to operate in the region”.

Driving the news: Amid news of OpenAI possibly leaving Europe due to regulators tightening the noose on the development of artificial intelligence (AI), Altman tweeted, “Very productive week of conversations in Europe about how to best regulate AI! We are excited to continue to operate here and of course, have no plans to leave.”

Catch up quick: On Wednesday, Altman, while speaking at an event in London, had said that the ChatGPT maker may leave the EU if the bloc “over-regulated”. “The current draft of the EU AI Act would be over-regulating, but we have heard it’s going to get pulled back,” Altman said. “There’s so much they could do like changing the definition of general-purpose AI systems. There’s a lot of things that could be done.”

Tell me more: EU lawmakers were not happy with Altman’s ‘threats’. According to reports, Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who has also worked on the draft EU law, said she and her colleagues “shouldn’t let ourselves be blackmailed by American companies”.

ETtech Deals Digest

ETtech Deals Digest

Indian startups secured a total of $447 million in funding this week across 20 rounds, according to data provided by market intelligence firm Tracxn, a 124% surge compared to the same period last year when startups had raised $188 million across 66 rounds.

Overall funding trend

Funding was bolstered by late-stage investments in app development startup and Walmart-owned fintech major PhonePe.

Top funding rounds

Late-stage startups attracted $410 million in funding which represents 92% of the total capital raised during this week. Seed-stage funding amounted to $23.2 million, while early-stage funding stood at $14.9 million.

Most active VCs this month

Here are all the startups that raised funding this week

Tweet of the day

Removed all defamatory social media posts against BharatPe: Ashneer Grover

Ashneer Grover

BharatPe cofounder Ashneer Grover informed the Delhi High Court that he has removed social media posts and statements that were alleged to be defamatory by the Gurgaon-based company.

Court proceedings: Grover’s counsel said his client would abide by the court’s previous directive against the use of unparliamentary language against BharatPe.

Grover’s plea: The counsel pointed out that the Grover family had raised concerns about BharatPe’s statement “Grover and family has committed a fraud”, and sought to remove it, to which BharatPe’s lawyers agreed.

Catch up quick: Earlier this month, the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) registered a first information report (FIR) against Grover, his wife Madhuri Jain, and other family members as an extension to the complaint made by the company last year.

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Gaurab Dasgupta in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.

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