Bitcoin on highway to being legit

The committee has met twice on the issue and is likely to submit its report to the finance ministry by February next.

Published: 26th December 2018 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2018 11:42 AM   |  A+A-

Representative image of bitcoins. (Photo | Reuters)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Holding cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is banned in India, but that could change, as the second interdisciplinary committee is in favour of legalising it, with harsh riders.

“We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalised with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon,” a senior official who attended the panel’s meetings told this paper. The committee has met twice on the issue and is likely to submit its report to the finance ministry by February next.

The government set up the first interdisciplinary committee led by special secretary Dinesh Sharma (now retired) with members from CBDT, Ministry of Home Affairs, MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), RBI, NITI Aayog and SBI in March 2017. Four months later, the committee recommended a total ban on cryptocurrency in India with immediate effect.

Soon after, an RBI circular rendered cryptocurrency illegal. And the finance ministry on December 29, 2017, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on February 1, 2018, echoed the harsh line.
However, various stakeholders challenged the RBI fiat in the Supreme Court. After conflicting opinions, the government set up the second inter-ministerial committee, led by the Department of Economic Affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg.

Members of the second inter-ministerial committee include the revenue secretary and officials from SEBI, RBI and MEITY. Recently, G20 countries agreed to introduce regulations on crypto assets to counter money laundering and financial terrorism. That was in line with the thought process in the Financial Action Task Force, another inter-governmental body.

In fact, some of the second interdisciplinary committee members, such as RBI executive director Ganesh Kumar and Finance Ministry officials have already actively participated in G20 and FATF working group meetings. They are expected to include insights they gained from the global deliberations in their report. The panel is likely to meet next in January. “We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity,” the official added.



Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp