Indian government is expected to introduce a crypto bill in Parliament

Quick Take

  • The Indian government is expected to introduce a crypto bill in the winter session of Parliament.
  • The bill’s name and description are exactly the same as a bill that was expected to be discussed in February. 

The government of India is expected to introduce a crypto bill in the winter session of Parliament, according to an official bulletin.

The bulletin, published Tuesday, lists "The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021" for introduction, consideration and passing.

The bulletin is published by the Lok Sabha — the lower house of India's bicameral Parliament. It confirms recent reports that said a crypto bill will be presented in the winter session of Parliament, which begins on November 29 and concludes on December 23.

The bill's description in the bulletin says it seeks "to create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India."

The bill also "seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses."

Notably, this is not the first time the Lok Sabha has mentioned this bill in its bulletin. Earlier this year, a Lok Sabha bulletin listed the same bill with the same description. That bill was expected to be introduced in February, but was never tabled in Parliament. 

While the latest bill's description matches with what the 2019 draft bill had said, it can't be said for sure whether the two bills are the same.

The 2019 bill was drafted by an inter-ministerial committee under the chairmanship of Subhash Chandra Garg, who was then serving as the secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs within the Ministry of Finance.

That bill was named "Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019" and had recommended banning crypto in nearly all forms, including trading and holding. It was never introduced in Parliament. 

It is not clear what the 2021 bill's contents are. "Need to wait till the session starts," Jaideep Reddy, leader of technology law practice at Nishith Desai Associates, told The Block.

The listing comes a few days after India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several other lawmakers, as well as industry stakeholders have held meetings to discuss the crypto space, including its opportunities and challenges.

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