Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Lok Sabha that the government does not maintain data on bitcoin transactions in India, and that the government had no proposal on making it a currency.
"The Government does not collect data on Bitcoin Transaction", said the response to a question by S. Ambareesh and DK Suresh on if the government maintained data on bitcoin transactions. "No, sir", was the response given to the question of whether the government had any proposal to make bitcoin a currency.
In another response, Pankaj Chaudhary, Minister of State for Finance, told Lok Sabha in a written reply that the government does not maintain information on cryptocurrency trading in India.
"The government does not collect information on the trading of cryptocurrency", said the reply on Monday, which is first day on the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament.
The reply was responding to a question on if the government had any data on cryptocurrencies that were traded in India, asked by Thirumaalavan Thol, representing Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.
Thol also asked if cryptocurrencies are permitted, if cryptocurrency exchanges are permitted and the Acts and laws currently applicable to cryptocurrencies. "Cryptocurrencies are unregulated in India", said the written response as a blanket reply to these question. However, it goes on to cite a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India in June, which asked banks not to cite a notice scrapped by a Supreme Court order to inhibit cryptocurrency trading, but continue due diligence and take action under existing law.
BOOM's story on the circular can be read below.
These responses come on the eve of a proposed bill to ban "private" cryptocurrencies in India, and provide a regulatory framework for the RBI's digital currency, according to the government's legislative agenda released before the session. Such a bill was also scheduled in the Budget Session, but was never introduced. The modalities of the bill remains unclear, with reporting on the bill saying that it would be a total ban, while some reports say that it would be regulated and taxed as an asset.
This caused the prices of several cryptocurrencies in the Indian rupee market to crash in the evening after the bill was introduced.
While the government says that it does not maintain data on the number of trading, the industry's own estimates put this number at 10 crores, or a 100 million users.
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