Cryptocurrency Bill among 26 to be introduced in Winter Session of Parliament

by National | 24-11-2021 | 349 views

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday listed 26 bills for the upcoming session of Parliament, including one to repeal the three contentious farm laws and another to ban all but a few private cryptocurrencies while allowing an official digital currency by the RBI.

The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha in the winter session, scheduled to begin from November 29.

The bill seeks to "create a facilitative framework for the creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. It also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses".

Currently, there is no regulation or any ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, earlier this month, held a meeting on cryptocurrencies with senior officials, and indications are that strong regulatory steps could be taken to deal with the issue.Recently, there have been a rising number of advertisements, featuring even film stars, promising easy and high returns on investments in cryptocurrencies in recent times, amid concerns over such currencies being allegedly used for luring investors with misleading claims.

Last week, the Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by BJP member Jayant Sinha, met the representatives of crypto exchanges, blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC), among others, and arrived at a conclusion that cryptocurrencies should not be banned, but it should be regulated.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has repeatedly reiterated its strong views against cryptocurrencies, saying they pose serious threats to the macroeconomic and financial stability of the country and also doubted the number of investors trading on them and their claimed market value.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das too had earlier this month had reiterated his views against allowing cryptocurrencies, saying they are a serious threat to any financial system since they are unregulated by central banks. The RBI had announced its intent to come out with an official digital currency in the face of the proliferation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, about which the central bank has had many concerns.

Private digital currencies/virtual currencies/ cryptocurrencies have gained popularity in the past decade or so. Here, regulators and governments have been sceptical about these currencies and are apprehensive about the associated risks. It can be noted that on March 4, 2021, the Supreme Court had set aside an RBI circular of April 6, 2018, prohibiting banks and entities regulated by it from providing services in relation to virtual currencies.

According to the Centre's legislative business list for the upcoming session, three bills have also been listed to replace three ordinances. These three bills are Narcotics Drug and Psychotic Substances Bill to amend an Act of the same name, the Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill.

The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill propose to extend the tenure of the directors of the CVC and CBI respectively. The all-important Farm Laws Repeal Bill, which proposes to rescind the three contentious farm laws enacted by parliament last year, has also been listed in the legislative business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last week announced to repeal the three farm laws while requesting protesting farmers to return to their homes.

There is also a politically significant bill specifically for poll-bound Uttar Pradesh - The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, to amend the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe list of Uttar Pradesh. It is being introduced just a few months before the Uttar Pradesh assembly election which is slated to be held early next year.

Similarly, there is another Bill to amend the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes list of Tripura. Then there is the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, to amend the salaries act of judges of the higher judiciary.The list of businesses also includes the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, The Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (Amendment) Bill.

Other listed bills include the Inter-Services Organizations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2021, which seeks to "empower the Commander-in-Chief or the Officer-in-Command of Inter-Services Organisations in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, the Navy Act, 1957, and the Air Force Act, 1950, who are serving under or attached to his command, for maintaining of discipline and proper discharge of their duties".

The Emigration Bill, 2021, will replace the Emigration Act, 1983 to establish a robust, transparent and comprehensive emigration management framework that facilitates safe and orderly migration.

The National Anti-Doping Bill, 2021, aims to provide a legislative framework to the NADA for meeting the obligations of India under the convention and the obligations of NADA as a signatory of the WADA Code, as amended from time to time.

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2021, seeks to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children, to provide for the care, protection, assistance and rehabilitation to the victims, while respecting their rights, and creating a supportive legal, economic and social environment for them, and also to ensure prosecution of offenders, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.The winter session of the Parliament is scheduled to start on November 29 and conclude on December 23.

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