In contrast to what finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed in media that ‘a lot of work’ with regards to the draft crypto bill ‘has already been done’, the unpreparedness of the Indian government pertaining to the Indian crypto industry can easily be understood by its responses in the parliament.
When asked in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament, Sitharaman has stated that there is no information related to the number of crypto exchanges in the country. The finance minister has also denied any information regarding any crypto exchanges’ involvement in money laundering scams and narcotics drug trafficking.
This is crucial given that the enforcement directorate has issued show cause notice to crypto exchange WazirX and alleged that users of WazirX via its pool account, have received incoming cryptocurrency worth INR 880 Cr from Binance accounts and transferred out cryptocurrency worth INR 1,400 Cr to Binance accounts. However, none of these transactions are available on the blockchain for any audit or investigation.
While WazirX is currently being investigated, its founder and CEO Nischal Shetty has denied all these allegations. The Bitconnect scam, one of the largest in the world, is widely reported and documented.
Sitharaman was responding to the questions raised by Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar Sushil Modi. Modi also inquired whether the Indian government intends to impose an equalisation levy on the investors who have bought cryptocurrency from abroad.
To which, Sitharaman clarified that equalisation levy is imposed on ecommerce operators, and not on investors.
Crypto seems to be equally getting popular among our lawmakers too. Earlier on July 19, several MPs including Krishna Devarayalu, Chinta Anuradha, PV Midhun Reddy and more had asked whether the Government has made it mandatory for Indian companies to disclose their dealings in cryptocurrency or digital currency and how many companies have disclosed their dealing in cryptocurrency with Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) as on date.
On this, Rao Inderjit Singh, minister of state for corporate affairs stated that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has amended Schedule III to the Companies Act, 2013 effective from April, 1 2021 which mandates various disclosures by the companies in their financial statements including cryptocurrency transactions undertaken by them during the financial year.
On the numbers and details of companies who have disclosed their crypto details, the minister stated that the filings of financial statements for the Financial Year 2021-22 are not yet due.