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  • An inter-ministerial committee submitted a bill proposing to ban digital assets in India in 2019. 
  • Lawyer Mohammed Danish had filed a Right to Information (RTI) requesting an update on the bill. 
  • The RTI reply has brought to light that the bill is “awaiting approval” from the government.

In reply to an RTI submitted earlier, the Finance and Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has said that the inter-ministerial committee’s cryptocurrency bill is “awaiting approval of the government.” Several ministries are currently examining the bill. 

In February 2019, the inter-ministerial committee had submitted the bill titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019.” Former DEA Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg heads the committee. 

Mohammed Danish, lawyer and co-founder of Crypto Kanoon, had filed an RTI with the DEA requesting the status of the bill. In a short reply, the DEA wrote: 

The government has set up inter-ministerial committee (IMC) for examining the issues of cryptocurrencies under the chairmanship of Secretary (EA). 

The report of the IMC on VCs [virtual currencies]has since been submitted by its members, but is awaiting approval of the government. The report and bill now be examined by the government through inter-ministerial consultation by moving a cabinet note in due course.

Danish explained that the bill in question proposes a blanket ban on all cryptocurrency-related activities. He added that the bill prescribes punishments for every activity from mining, holding, advertising, promoting, buying, and selling digital assets.

He added that it is “unclear and quite pre-mature” to predict what the Ministry of Finance will do. However, it appears that the ministry “does not want to proceed with this crypto bill for parliamentary clearance in the present form.” He added: 

If the govt. decides to pass a law banning crypto, this law can be challenged by crypto business, traders, or enthusiasts based on various rights available to them under the Constitution.