The government of India is working on finalizing a cryptocurrency bill and the send it to the Union Cabinet for review.
India’s authorities have taken hostile stances against cryptocurrencies in the past, with varying degrees of success.
A new bill
Anurag Thakur, the country’s Minister of State for Finance pointed out that the government is drafting a cryptocurrency bill that will be sent to the Cabinet for deliberation.
He said this when he was responding to questions in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India on Feb. 9.
An Indian lawmaker views bitcoins and cryptocurrencies as “an escalating problem” that needs to be dealt with.
“There is no doubt that the problem of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies is escalating and the circular issued by the RBI also has limited impact,” said KC Ramamurthy, a Member of Parliament from Karnataka.
“I would like to know from the honorable finance minister whether there is any proposal to bring in a bill to curb cryptocurrency in the country,” Ramamurthy quizzed Thakur.
Cryptos are out of reach
In his response, Thakur said cryptocurrencies are not classified as either currencies or assets, placing them outside the regulatory oversight of the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the securities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
“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,” said Thakur.
He added that the “existing laws are inadequate” in dealing with cryptocurrencies. As a result of this, the government has to introduce a new bill.
“The bill is being finalized and will be sent to the cabinet soon. So we will be bringing the bill soon,” said Thakur.
India wants to ban cryptocurrencies
India caught the local cryptocurrency community off-guard last month after proposing a new bill that would ban “private cryptocurrencies” such as bitcoin in favor of a new national digital currency to be issued by the central bank.
The crypto community hit back, demanding clarity on the meaning of “private cryptocurrency.”
The authorities want to ban cryptocurrencies when the market is experiencing an unprecedented bull market.