India’s much-awaited cryptocurrency bill is unlikely to be presented in the ongoing session of parliament as the government has yet to finalize details of the legislation, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration wants wider consultations on the matter before finalizing the rules to govern digital currencies and there isn’t enough time as the current session ends Dec. 23, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. Also, the Cabinet hasn’t approved the proposed legislation.
A spokesman for the finance ministry couldn’t be immediately reached for a comment.
The schedule for the last week of the parliament session has dropped the cryptocurrency bill from the list of business put up on its website. However, the government can still bring in the legislation through an ordinance in periods when parliament is not in session.
The bill proposes to help the central bank create an official digital currency, a description on the parliament’s website said last month. The legislation sought to “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses,” the text read.
India with nearly 1.4 billion people is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for cryptocurrency trading, but the country has had a hot-and-cold relationship with virtual coins. The central bank had effectively banned crypto transactions in 2018, but the Supreme Court struck down the restriction last year.
Calls for stricter rules have grown since then amid concerns that an unregulated environment could draw more domestic household savings toward the volatile assets. The crypto market in India has grown 641% in the year through June 2021, according to an October report from Chainalysis, a crypto-analysis firm.
The bill has been reworked to make it more recent, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said earlier. While the Reserve Bank wants a ban on cryptocurrencies, the government is considering an option of allowing crypto as a financial asset, Bloomberg News had reported earlier.
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