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Govt to bring out bill soon to regulate Cryto Currency: Sitharaman

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the government will soon bring out a bill to regulate crypto currency.

Sitharaman also said, in reference to the study by the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy on having three slabs for the GST rates, that the GST Council has not yet deliberated on the issue.

Answering supplementary questions in the Rajya Sabha, Sitharaman said there would be a bill brought soon before the Union Cabinet on regulating crypto currency, and added “I am indicating that there will not be a prohibition”.

She was answering a query by Swapan Dasgupta, BJP member, who wanted to know if an outright ban would be preferable or will it be better to regulate crypto currency.

Sitharaman said the government has had extensive discussions on the proposed bill and they are proposing a regulatory framework for it.

To questions by Amar Patnaik of the BJD, and Narendra Jadhav, a nominated member of the Upper House, on requirement for a regulatory framework so that people are not misled, she said that earlier the SEBI and RBI had issued statements to build awareness on crypto currency “as it is a risky area and that people should be cautious.”

She said earlier the RBI attempted to regulate it, but “it was highlighted through the Supreme Court that regulation through the RBI may not be good” – referring to the Supreme Court in early March 2020 nullifying the RBI circular banning cryptocurrencies.

To a question on the risks it can lead to due to illegal transfers of wealth, she said crypto currency is being regularly monitored by the regulatory authorities.

To a supplementary question by Sushil Modi, BJP, she said that an earlier bill on crypto currency is being reworked to bring out the new bill.

“Now we are coming out with a new bill. The earlier attempt was to come out with a bill, but rapidly a lot of things have come out into play (in the crypto currency domain),” and now the new bill will be introduced once the Union Cabinet clears it.

With regard to banning of ads on crypto currency, she said they are studying the guidelines of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) to see how they can take a position on it.

To a question by Modi whether a separate legal framework was being brought out on NFTs or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) , she said the matter was under discussion. Asked how much income tax had been collected by the government on crypto currency, the Minister said she has no tangible information on it.

V. Vijayasai Reddy (YSR Congress Party) wanted to know whether the government was going to accept the proposal of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy for having three slabs for GST rates.

Sitharaman said when the GST came into place revenue neutrality required four rates.

She added that because of the pandemic and the requirement for borrowing and filing GST, the required debate on rate rationalization in the GST Council “has not even come up”.

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Via UNI-India
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