A high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Economic Affairs), has suggested that all private cryptocurrencies except those issued by the State, be prohibited.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in the Rajya Sabha, said the central government will take a decision on the recommendation of IMC and legislative proposal, if any would be introduced in the Parliament following the due process.
“It was announced in the Budget Speech for 2018-19 that the government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coins, and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” Sitharaman reiterated. “The government will explore use of blockchain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.”
Anurag Singh Thakur, Minister of State for Finance, pointed out regulatory bodies like RBI and SEBI etc. also don’t have a legal framework to directly regulate cryptocurrencies as they are neither currencies nor assets or securities or commodities issued by an identifiable user. “The government had formed an inter ministerial committee and the committee has given a report. Post that, there was a meeting of the empowered technology group which happened earlier. The committee of secretaries which was chaired by the cabinet secretary has also given their report. The bill is being finalized and will be sent to the cabinet soon. So we will be bringing the bill soon.”
Crypto companies launch #Indiawantsbitcoin
With the ban looming on the horizon, leading cryptocurrency companies have joined hands to educate and build greater awareness amongst policy makers and the public about cryptocurrencies and their scope to unlock deep financial innovation at a global scale. They have launched the #Indiawantsbitcoin campaign to put the spotlight on the already sizeable crypto ecosystem in the country and the financial opportunities it has created for millions of Indian investors with the hope that the regulators will look after their concerns while drafting the framework of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill.
In 2018, the RBI had banned banks from processing transactions relating to cryptocurrencies. However, in March 2020, the Supreme Court had overturned the ban.