The discussion of bitcoin regulation in India has long been debated with no solid outcome. Now, though, users of the digital currency will soon know how the government is going to deal with its regulation after a government-appointed panel submitted its report to finance minister Arun Jaitley.
It may be remembered that earlier in March, the country’s Ministry of Finance established an intergovernmental committee to study, research and eventually propose a framework for digital currencies in India.
Tasked with taking stock of the legal status of the cryptocurrency market globally in addition to studying existing regulatory and legal structures governing them and suggesting measures to protect consumers from money laundering, the report wasn’t expected until July.
Now, though, according to a report from Business Line, an official said:
The inter-disciplinary committee chaired by Special Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs has submitted its report.
In the past there have been calls for bitcoin to be declared illegal in India for an Indian politician while the country’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – has issued warnings stating that users who deal with digital currencies will be doing so at their own risk.
Just recently a report suggested that India’s finance ministry panel suggested that the government take steps to stop the use of digital currencies to protect people.
According to an official, digital currencies such as bitcoin don’t have ‘legal sanctity’ in India and the coins are ‘fraught with dangers of sudden value erosion.’
Despite this, however, there has been a notable growth of bitcoin in India over the last few years.
Digital Agenda in India
Since the country’s demonetization last November, there has been a rise in awareness of bitcoin in India, according to Google trends.
In May the number of searches for the digital currency peaked, which was around the time the government invited citizens to comment on digital currencies for its report and Indian bitcoin exchange Coinsource reported it was struggling to process customers’ withdrawals due to a surge in interest and adoption of the currency.
Since then figures have dropped, but bitcoin remains a viable currency for many people in India.
Jaitley is one prominent figure who has been pushing for a digital banking agenda. So much so, that in his budget speech in February, he set the nation a target of 2,500 crore digital transactions (25 billion) for 2017-18, according to The Times of India.
The inter-disciplinary report has yet to be made public, so it remains to be seen what position the panel has taken and what the next steps will be.
Featured image from ArunJaitley.com.