Indian parliament reportedly considering fast-tracking crypto bill

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The Indian government may be taking a legislative shortcut to pass a bill recently proposed to regulate digital currencies in the country.

According to a report from news outlet CNBC-TV18, the Indian government may take the “ordinance route” to ban the use of private cryptocurrencies in the country as well as create a regulatory framework for a digital rupee issued by the Reserve Bank of India. Passing the measures within the proposed crypto bill using this method would require the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, to issue an ordinance when Parliament is not in session.

The news outlet said the appropriate parties had already begun preparing a draft of the ordinance with the goal of introducing the crypto law “within a month” of it being issued. Unlike bills passed through acts of Parliament, ordinances typically allow the Indian government to immediately take legislative action.

“[The government wants] this bill to be cleared as soon as possible,” said CNBC-TV18 reporter Timsy Jaipuria. “We’ll have to wait and see how soon government works, and gets this ordinance cleared.”

The proposed legislation, the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, is currently being considered in the upper house of India’s Parliament as part of its budget session, which will run until April 8 but have a recess between Feb. 16 and March 7. President Kovind is empowered to pass ordinances during parliamentary recesses, meaning India could potentially enact some type of crypto ban as early as March.

Though the bill says it will “prohibit all private cryptocurrencies” in India, it also says it will allow for “certain exceptions to promote the underlying technology of cryptocurrency and its uses.” Cashaa CEO Kumar Gaurav said he believed the legislation was more of an attempt to prevent illicit activities in the industry rather than outright ban crypto.

India’s government has largely not taken a firm position on regulating digital currency since overturning a blanket ban from the Reserve Bank of India in March. Since August, however, reports citing sources within the government have suggested that Parliament is considering a new law banning crypto trading in India. The central bank has also said it would be “exploring the possibility” of a digital rupee.