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Cryptocurrency Bill among 26 to be introduced in Winter Session

The Bill 'seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses'

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BS Web Team 

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As many as 26 new bills, including one on cryptocurrencies, have been listed for introduction in the Winter Session of the Parliament, slated to begin from November 29 and conclude on December 23.

The Winter Session will consider and regulation of digital currency bill, banking amendment bill, repeal of farm laws, IBC amendment bill, stated the legislative agenda for the upcoming session released on Tuesday.

The and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021 to be tabled in Parliament during the Winter Session seeks "to create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the Reserve Bank of India. The Bill also seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India, however, it allows for certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of and its uses." The cryptocurrency Bill comes amid concerns over such currencies being allegedly used for luring investors with misleading claims.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on cryptocurrencies, and noted that attempts were being made to mislead youth by over-promising and non-transparent advertising, and should be stopped.

The Bill also aims to "create a facilitative framework for creation of the official digital currency to be issued by the RBI".

The government is considering changes in the Income Tax Act to bring gains made from transactions in cryptocurrencies under the tax net in the Budget next year. It is also looking at imposing goods and services tax (GST) on the trade in virtual currencies, a FinMin official said last week.

People are already paying capital gains on income from cryptocurrencies, and the GST law provides for taxing such transactions as ‘services’, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj told PTI.

Investments in cryptocurrencies have surged lately with expectations of higher returns. These currencies have also gained wider acceptance among youth.

Asked whether people involved in cryptocurrency trading would be categorised as facilitator, brokerage and trading platform and how the taxation would be done under GST, Bajaj told PTI that “there would already be such things available in other services also. So whatever GST rate they are taxed at, that will be applicable to them. They have to get themselves registered. The GST law is very clear. If there is an activity, if there is a broker who is helping people and charging brokerage fee, GST would get charged."

The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 will also be tabled "regarding privatisation of two Public Sector Banks".

The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 will also be tabled to repeal the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance, Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. This comes in the backdrop of PM Modi announcing withdrawal of the contentious laws on Friday.

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First Published: Tue, November 23 2021. 19:46 IST