Automobile, gems and jewellery and travel firms are working in metaverse

Reuters File photo
Reuters File photo

Metaverse is nothing but a 3D rendition of the internet which is played through virtual reality headgear on augmented reality content.

By H. P. Ranina

Published: Sat 30 Apr 2022, 10:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:49 PM

Question: My son who is running an electronics business in India wants to concentrate on development of products for Metaverse. I am not familiar with this concept and I want to know whether there are prospects for developing this line of business.

The world is currently in very early stages of development of the Metaverse as the virtual 3D ecosystem starts to take shape. Metaverse is nothing but a 3D rendition of the internet which is played through virtual reality headgear on augmented reality content.

This is presently popular in gaming and entertainment applications. However, it is expected that the scope of the applications will increase manifold in the coming years. Many Indian companies across different sectors have started experimenting with various options as a marketing tool to establish their presence in this new digital domain of Metaverse.

Automobile companies, gems and jewellery firms and even travel aggregators have adopted non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a tool to enter this space. NFTs are digital assets which allow a limited number of owners to enjoy the digital experience. Some car manufacturers in India are selling the NFTs while promoting the sale of their new models. A travel aggregator sold vacation package NFTs. Therefore the prospects for this line of digital business to grow are mind boggling.

There was a recent event in India on promotion of traditional medicines. Are these medicines likely to have a global impact which will create more business opportunities?

The WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is proposed to be set up in Jamnagar for which the foundation laying ceremony was undertaken last month. The Ayush segment of medicine comprising ayurveda, yoga, unani, siddha and homeopathy has expanded to $20.6 billion in 2021 and is estimated to grow to $23.3 billion during 2022. During the Covid pandemic, ayurveda based preventive healthcare gained prominence in the consumer mind space, especially immunity boosting products. The demand for herbal raw material has increased by three times during the pandemic period. Certain hospitals which provide this treatment have patients coming in from several foreign countries.

According to the Mauritian Prime Minister, traditional medicines are gaining acceptance across the world and forty percent of the pharmaceutical products currently in use are derived from natural substances like herbal plants and minerals. The Indian Government has asked the WHO to establish global standards for testing and certification of traditional medicines which will help to increase the trust of consumers around the world. In a bid to attract medical tourism, a special Ayush Visa category has been introduced by the Indian Government for foreigners who want to come to India for traditional healthcare.

Diversion of funds by non-banking finance companies to senior executives, directors and relatives has come to light. Is anything being done to control these malpractices?

The Reserve Bank of India has recently announced tightening of guidelines for NBFCs while giving loans to companies and firms in which directors, senior executives and their relatives are interested.

NBFCs are also required to disclose their exposure to all sensitive sectors including real estate. Full information is required to be given in respect of loans given against shares and securitised mortgages. It is now mandatory for a resolution to be passed at a meeting of the board of directors of NBFCs if more than ₹50 million is given as loan to directors, senior executives or their relatives.

NBFCs cannot lend to any firm in which any of their directors or their relatives are interested as partners, employees or guarantors. NBFCs can give loans to the real estate sector only if the borrower has obtained prior permission from statutory authorities for the project. These guidelines are framed to prevent NBFCs from diverting funds to related parties and sensitive sectors.

H. P. Ranina is a practicing lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.

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