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No information collected on number of crypto exchanges and investors in India: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

According to data from crypto exchanges, there are approximately 1.5 crore Indians who have invested in cryptocurrencies holding worth Rs 15,000 crore, with more and more people starting to invest. There are 350 startups that operate in the blockchain and crypto space.

July 27, 2021 / 03:55 PM IST
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman informed Rajya Sabha on July 27 that the government does not collect information on the number of cryptocurrency exchanges and investors in India.

Sitharaman also said that the Finance Ministry has received no information on whether some of these exchanges are involved in narcotic drug trafficking or money laundering.

The minister said this in a tabled reply to questions on cryptocurrency by Rajya Sabha MP and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi. "This information is not collected by the Government," Sitharaman said, when asked on the number of cryptocurrency exchanges operational in the country and the number of investors linked to the same.

Modi also asked whether the centre  intends to impose an equalisation levy on the investors who have bought cryptocurrency from abroad. To which Sitharaman replied: "Equalisation levy is imposed on e-commerce operator, not on the investor."

According to data from crypto exchanges, there are approximately 1.5 crore Indians who have invested in cryptocurrencies holding worth Rs 15,000 crore, with more and more people starting to invest. There are 350 startups that operate in the blockchain and crypto space.

Close

As Moneycontrol had reported earlier, the much-awaited Cryptocurrency Bill will not be tabled in the current Monsoon Session of Parliament. There are two primary reasons for this.

First, while a draft bill is ready, further deliberations are still being held between the Finance Ministry, Reserve Bank of India, banks and other stakeholders. The government wants to take a considered decision on cryptocurrency.

It is understood that while there will be no outright ban on cryptocurrencies, they won’t be allowed as legal tender either. Rather, cryptocurrencies are likely to be treated as a tradable asset class with a market.

The second, and more important reason, as far as the government is concerned, is that regulation of cryptocurrencies is not that high on the centre’s economic agenda right now and other bills and amendments take precedence.

In a session marred by constant disruptions over various issues, Sitharaman has already tabled the amendments to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, while the Factoring Regulation Amendment Bill has been passed by Lok Sabha.

Some of the other legislations that are expected to be tabled include the Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Amendment Bill, amendments to the law governing chartered accountants and company secretaries and amendments to the PFRDA Act and DICGC Act, plus the Electricity Amendment Bill.
Arup Roychoudhury

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