Government sources have stated that the highly anticipated crypto bill is unlikely to be tabled during the ongoing winter session of parliament. The Indian government has yet to finalize all the details regarding the legislation. As things stand, it is highly unlikely that the bill will be introduced during the ongoing session.
Crypto Bill Not On The Agenda
The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill no longer appears on the parliament’s agenda for the rest of the session and is not among the seven bills up for discussion during the remainder of the winter session.
Lawmakers were initially set to vote on the bill designed to create a “facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency” issued by the RBI, the country’s central bank. The bill also proposed banning certain private cryptocurrencies, but so far, it has not been voted on yet, with the legal status and regulatory framework around digital currencies still uncertain.
Wider Consultation Needed
The Indian government is looking to hold more comprehensive consultations regarding cryptocurrencies and the proposed bill with all the stakeholders before deciding its course of action. While the government would have liked to finalize the crypto space and digital currencies rules during the ongoing session, the winter session ends on December 23rd, leaving the government with hardly any time to conclude discussions.
The Supreme Court of India had also overturned a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies that the RBI imposed. Since that judgment, speculation has been rife about the Indian government considering several proposals to regulate cryptocurrencies and other digital assets in India, with a complete ban also being mentioned by the media.
Will There Be An Ordinance?
If the parliament does indeed defer the cryptocurrency bill, we could see the President of India issue an ordinance to tackle the crypto legislation when the parliament is not in session. The ordinance would essentially fast-track the legislation and could be introduced anytime between December and January.
While there is considerable speculation and confusion around the bill, if finance ministry sources are believed, the government could classify cryptocurrencies as something closer to assets rather than commodities.
India has a significant population invested in cryptocurrencies, and any potential ban or regulatory effort could send ripples in the wider cryptocurrency space. When the bill was introduced as one of the topics in the parliamentary agenda, popular crypto exchange WazirX saw a significant sell-off, resulting in a considerable drop in the price of BTC, ETH, and other cryptos.
Uncertainty Around India’s Crypto Space
While cryptocurrencies are hugely popular among the youth in India, an opinion poll conducted by LocalCircles has revealed that 71% of Indians have little or no confidence in digital currencies, according to its survey. However, IMF Chief Gita Gopinath has called upon India to maintain an accommodating crypto policy.