New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said that banning or not banning cryptocurrencies will come subsequently after consultations. In her reply on Union Budget 2022-23 in Rajya Sabha, Ms Sitharaman stated, "The government has sovereign right to tax profit made from cryptocurrency transactions, and the decision on banning or not banning will be taken based on feedback from consultations. I'm not doing anything to legalise or ban cryptocurrencies at this stage. We have only taxed the profit emanating from the transactions."
The Budget has announced that the transfer of any virtual or cryptocurrency asset will be taxed at 30 per cent, the highest tax band in the country.
In her Budget speech, the Finance Minister had also mentioned that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will this year introduce a digital rupee, backed by blockchain technology.
"Introduction of a central bank digital currency will give a big boost to the digital economy. Digital currency will also lead to a more efficient and cheaper currency management system," Ms Sitharaman had said.
This comes at a time when the Reserve Bank has voiced "serious concerns" around private cryptocurrencies on the grounds that these may cause financial instability.
There are an estimated 15-20 million cryptocurrency investors in India, with total crypto holdings of around Rs 40,000 crore ($5.29 billion), according to industry estimates.
While addressing the upper house on the country's economic growth, Ms Sitharaman further stated that there's no question of slowdown or recession, citing estimated 9.2 per cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the current fiscal (2021-22).