India’s highly anticipated crypto regulation bill probably won’t be introduced to Parliament until next year’s session begins in late January or early February, several media outlets reported.
Media reports citing unnamed sources said the crypto bill is not on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday.The process requires the draft bill to be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration before introduction in parliament. With no Cabinet approval this week, time is running out for the bill to be introduced in this session of parliament, which ends Dec. 23.The next Cabinet meeting is on Dec. 22, and therefore it is highly unlikely the crypto bill will get Cabinet approval and then also be introduced in the parliament.The bill is also unlikely to be introduced in this session because the government is considering changes to the proposed bill, CoinDesk has learned.This does not completely rule out the possibility of crypto regulations in the near future or even before the next session of parliament. The government has the option of promulgating an ordinance instead of presenting the bill in parliament first if it determines that the need has arisen.CoinDesk has learned the Cabinet has already had informal discussions around the draft bill. Once the bill is approved by the Cabinet, it is likely to go to the standing committee on finance in parliament for further scrutiny and discussions.Policy experts have indicated to CoinDesk the bill is unlikely to be introduced in this session of parliament, as the crypto space is fast evolving and the framework of the bill requires further consultations.On Dec. 11, at the virtual Summit for Democracy hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and cryptocurrencies so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it.”The Economic Times quoted an unnamed senior Indian government official as saying, “After several rounds of discussions at the highest levels, it was felt that any legislation surrounding cryptocurrency must be in tandem with a global framework which is still evolving. It might be a better strategy to wait and observe how this space evolves globally.”The crypto bill has been listed for the ongoing winter session of parliament and was also listed in the last budget session, but has not been introduced in either session.
UPDATE (Dec. 15, 10:07 UTC): Adds additional information about Cabinet discussions on bill in sixth bullet point.