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India wants blockchain, will not 'shut off' cryptocurrency completely, says FM Sitharaman

Reports emerged on Sunday saying that India is mulling a ban on cryptocurrencies, imposing fines on anyone found trading in the country
Last Updated : 15 March 2021, 06:41 IST

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A day after reports of a ban on cryptocurrency in India, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarified that the government is not completely shunning cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Speaking at the India Today conclave, Sitharaman said, "From our side, we are very clear that we are not shutting all options. We will allow certain windows for people to do experiments on the blockchain, bitcoins or cryptocurrency," adding that growth of fintech depends on such experiments.

Sitharaman acknowledged that blockchain is a wide area and India has an advantage in it. "A lot of fintech companies have made a lot of progress on it. We have got several presentations. Much work at the state level is happening and we want to take it in a big way in IFSC or Gift City in Gandhinagar," she said. The Finance Ministry will spend more time planning this once Parliament sessions are done, the finance minister added.

Reuters had reported, quoting senior government officials, that the Centre will propose a law banning cryptocurrencies, with fines for anyone found trading, or even holding such digital assets.

Sitharaman said that the Cabinet note on cryptocurrency which is "nearing completion" will give detailed information on the same.

Minister of State for Finance had told the Parliament earlier that India's current laws are inadequate with cryptocurrencies. The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) led by former finance secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, had furnished a report and suggested a draft Bill to ban cryptocurrencies.

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Published 15 March 2021, 05:16 IST

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