Cryptocurrency bill to be passed soon? Here’s what Nirmala Sitharaman has to say

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave hints about the status of the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 during an interview. The Finance Minister said that the Cabinet note is ready for the bill but it is up to the Cabinet to take it up.

“We have done a lot of work on it. We have taken stakeholders’ inputs. The Cabinet note is ready. We have to see when the Cabinet can take it up and consider it so that then we can move it,” she said in an interview to The Hindu last week.

The minister said, “From our side, I think one or two indications that I have given is that at least for fintech, experiment and pilot projects a window will be available,” further adding that the Cabinet will have to take a decision.

While there is no clarity, the bill could be taken up for discussion in the Monsoon session of the parliament. It must be mentioned that the bill was listed for the Budget session of the parliament but was eventually not tabled. The Budget session was cut short due to the second COVID-19 wave.

Government is yet to clarify its stance on digital currencies. The Reserve Bank of India in 2018 had issued a circular to banks asking them not to engage in cryptocurrency services. The RBI, on May 31, said that its 2018 circular was no longer valid and barred banks from citing it. “Such references to the above circular by banks or regulated entities are not in order as this circular was set aside by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on March 04, 2020,” it said.

On Wednesday, Bitcoin fell 0.15 per cent from Tuesday at $34,779, while Ethereum was down 2.83 per cent at $2,388 at 12:30 pm.

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