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Crypto Bill to be introduced in Winter Session; seeks to prohibit private coins with ‘certain exceptions’

The bill would seek to allow certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses. (Image: pexels)

A new bill aiming to regulate cryptocurrencies in India is likely to be introduced in the Winter Session of the Parliament. Along with 25 other new bills, the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 has also been listed for introduction this Winter Session that would begin November 29, according to the legislative agenda released on Tuesday for the upcoming session.

The bill would seek “To create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India,” the agenda noted. “The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.”

Initially expected to be introduced in the Budget session earlier this year, the bill had sought a ban on all private cryptocurrencies. Importantly, in August this year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told reporters that the bill was awaiting Cabinet approval, as per a PTI report. However, the Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das had time and again reiterated his stand on cryptos, calling them a serious threat to the financial system.

“There are serious concerns on macroeconomic and financial stability, there are deeper issues,” Shaktikanta Das had said at an event earlier this month. He added, “I’m yet to see serious, well-informed discussion in the public space on these issues.”

Also read: With over $150 million crypto investments last week, investors seemingly unfazed by price correction

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also cautioned the sector to ensure that “crypto doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.” Speaking at the Sydney Dialogue, PM Modi had said, “It is important that all democratic nations work together on this and ensure it does not end up in wrong hands, which can spoil our youth.”

PM Modi’s comments on cryptos had come just days after the first meeting between Indian cryptocurrency ecosystem stakeholders and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance. Chaired by BJP MP and former Union Minister Jayant Sinha last week, the meeting ended with a consensus that there should be regulation around the cryptocurrency market, sources had told Financial Express Online.

“There was overall consensus among MPs that there should be regulation instead of banning it. Now there are two ways of looking at it. Either 90 per cent of it is banned and 10 per cent is allowed or vice versa. That’s the trade-off discussion that has been pending. And for that we have to go point-by-point,” one source had said.

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