India Digital Currency Bill Still Pending And Awaits Approval

The fate of India’s digital currency industry swings in between the regulatory hurdle and the country’s enthusiastic crypto community. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India removed the ban on the use of cryptocurrencies citing long inaction from the government.

However, the authorities have made new submissions of a bill that seeks banning the digital currencies yet again. The government is said to have formed an inter-ministerial committee for examining the bill which is still “awaiting approval”.

Responding to a Right-to-Information (RTI) request submitted by digital currency lawyer Mohammed Danish, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) made a few revelations. In its reply to the RTI request, the DEA wrote: The government has set up inter-ministerial committee (IMC) for examining the issues of cryptocurrencies under the chairmanship of Secretary (EA). The report of the IMC on VCs [virtual currencies] has since been submitted by its members, but is awaiting approval of the government”.

The DEA has said that via an inter-ministerial consultation, the government will examine the report and the bill by moving a cabinet note in due course”.

In an interview with local news publication Coinpedia, Danish said that the lengthy examination periods shows that the concerned ministry isn’t satisfied with the bill.

The bill dubbed Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019,” was released by the inter-ministerial committee last year. The bill proposes a blanket ban on the use of digital currencies and also recommends a jail of five years or penalties as high as three times the gains made by cryptocurrency users.

If the bill proceeds as per the ministry proposals, Danish says that no business in India’s crypto sector can survive. If this bill is converted into law in the present form, then no sector can survive. It prescribes punishments for every activity from mining, holding, advertising, promoting, buying, selling and providing exchange services,” he said.

India’s crypto community is wanting the government to take a lenient approach like most of other top economies and democratic nations. On the other hand, while other big economies have accelerated their work on central bank digital currency (CBDC), India is yet to decide its action plan on those lines.