Bitcoin is not banned in India, the finance minister tells Parliament
Possessing or trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is not prohibited in India, union minister Anurag Singh Thakur told the upper house of the Indian parliament.
The Minister of State informed the Finance Ministry said that the issues of allowing the trade of purchase / sale of cryptocurrencies are still under consideration by an interministerial committee appointed by the government. He noted that the Reserve Bank of India and the Ministry of Finance had issued a series of circulars and notices on the use of bitcoins and other similar currencies. However, only a final committee report could shed more light on the final status of that nascent asset class.
“At present, there is no separate law to deal with problems related to cryptocurrencies,” Thakur said in his response. “Therefore, all Departments and agencies in charge of enforcing the law, such as the RBI, the Compliance Department and the Income Tax authorities, among others, take measures according to the relevant laws in force.”
Globally acceptable solution
The response followed Bloomberg Quint’s coverage based on an alleged draft ban on cryptography, which mentioned that the government would condemn crypto merchants with a ten-year prison sentence. This week, lawyer Varun Sethi, based in New Delhi, shared a leaked page of the same draft, which clarified that the Indian government was planning an offensive against cryptocurrency traders. However, Sethi doubted the authenticity of the filtered extract.
In another letter sent to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Thakur said the interministerial committee should devise a technically viable solution that suits global regulators. Excerpts from his answer:
“It is difficult to establish a specific timeline to arrive at clear recommendations. The Interministerial Committee (IMC), under the chairmanship of the Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, is examining all problems, including the pros and cons of the introduction of an official digital currency in India. So far no decision has been taken on the license and authorization of any entity or company to operate such schemes or to negotiate with Bitcoins or any other virtual currency. “
Supreme Court hearing
The answer appears before the next Supreme Court hearing of the so-called Crypto vs. RBI on July 23. After the Central Bank’s general ban on the bitcoin trade, crypto companies in India filed a case against the federal organization for abusing their position. The legal fight, started in July 2018, suffered significant delays due to several technical issues. At the last hearing, which took place in April 2019, the Supreme Court decided to hear the final arguments after the summer holidays.
The next hearing could make the interministerial committee present its crypto draft in court. If it is the same document quoted by Bloomberg Quint, the possession and trade of cryptocurrencies in India will be prohibited.
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