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Govt. of India yet to approve 2019 Crypto Ban Bill, Inter Ministerial Consultation Started

DEA says Government of India has not approved the Cryptocurrency Banning Bill submitted in February 2019. However, consultation with different ministries have begun to deliberate the fate of the bill.

In an RTI reply to the request filed by Crypto Kanoon, it has come to light that “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019”, although submitted in early 2019 by the Inter-ministerial committee, is not approved by the Government of India until now.

It was also revealed that a cabinet note was sent for inter-ministerial consulting on the Banning bill. This proves to early June news around the subject.

Something Decisive about Cryptocurrency Regulations

In a video, Kashif Raza, co-founder of Crypto Kanoon, the Cryptocurrency policy analysis platform says we can expect a decisive action from the government arond Cryptocurrency regulations.

Mohammad Danish, the other co-founder and a prominent lawyer, filed the RTI with three basic questions.

  1. Whether the news around circulation of a cabinet note were true?
  2. What is the purpose of the note?
  3. Any timeframe in which the ministries have to respond to the cabinet note?

Danish also asked to see a copy of the cabinet note, which wasn’t shared in the response by the Department of Economic Affairs.

Danish’s RTI was responded to on July 13, 2020.

Unapproved Bill for Banning Cryptocurrencies

The reply says, the inter-ministerial committee setup to examine the regulation of Virtual currencies had submitted its report under the chairmanship of the secretary – Subhash Chandra Garg at the time.

The report is now awaiting approval of the government.

“Somewhere the government is confused whether they should convert the bill into law as it is”, says Raza on the video breaking down the RTI.

If the government was in a rush, the bill would have been implemented as it is, Raza concludes.

Not all Good News

Further the RTI response reads “The Report and Bill now be examined by the Government through inter-Ministerial Consultation by moving a cabinet Note in due course”.

“This is a bad news”, says Raza as he explains the response.

The cabinet note being discussed was issued for consultation of the same bill from 2019. That means that the government might just be going forward with the existing bill instead of deliberating for newer regulations.

The RTI response refused to share any other information about cabinet note under section (1)(i) of the RTI act.

Ministerial Consultation Importance

Raza says the government has asked for inputs from various ministries and they should respond appropriately.

The ministries will examine the feasibility of each recommendation inside the bill and pass their comments on it. Once the ministries respond, the government will take its decision.

The good news seems to be that Government its taking its time to come up with regulations, acquiring as much information as it can.

RTI response from DEA to Crypto Kanoon
RTI response to Crypto Kanoon

In July 2019, the Department of Economic Affairs made public a report on Virtual currencies along with a draft bill to completely ban “private Crypto currencies” such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. The bill proposes hefty fines on trading, storing, mining cryptocurrencies along with jail term of upto 10 years. The bill has not yet been approved or tabled in the parliament.

In March 2020, roughly after two years, the supreme court quashed RBI’s circular that prohibited banks from providing services to Businesses and Individuals dealing in Crypto. This was welcomed by the entire community, however the threat of a complete ban on crypto still looms over our head and it might not be gone anytime soon.

Industry experts think that the government may soften its stance on Cryptocurrencies after seeing the recent growth and adoption around the globe.

You can watch the Crypto Kanoon video right here:

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