India Finance Minister Expects CBDC Launch This Year



The government of India expects its central bank to launch a digital rupee this year, the country’s finance minister said.

Speaking at an India Global Forum event, Nirmala Sitharaman said the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) will be launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) following consultation with the government.

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The minister said she sees many “advantages” in a CBDC. “In this day and age, bulk payments happening between countries, large transactions between institutions, large transactions between central banks themselves of each country are all better enabled with a digital currency. Therefore we think the RBI would be looking to see how best they can come out with it,” the finance minister said.

Sitharaman was reportedly asked if she sees a future for crypto in the country by Coinswitch CEO Ashish Singhal. “Many Indians have seen a future in crypto, therefore I see a possibility of revenue in it,” she replied.

But on the question of regulation, she added: “After the consultation process gets duly completed, the ministry would sit in and probably mull over it, which is required because we need the executive to be sure that we are not crossing any legal requirement. I know you have led me to say are we regulating it or are we banning it. I am not getting into it now.”

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The government of India has proposed a 30% tax on the proceeds from the sale of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets during the budget session of 2022. The payments made to transfer digital assets will also attract a tax deducted at source of 1%.

The minister stated that crypto consultations in India are currently ongoing and the focus will be on fulfilling all the “legal requirements” at the moment. And any oppositions will be considered after that while discussing its regulation.

Sitharaman’s address at the India Global Forum was attended by top executives and founders of India’s 30 unicorn startups.

Attendees included Harsh Jain, CEO of Dream11, Kuber Ashish Singhal, CEO of CoinSwitch, and Umag Bedi, the co-founder of VerSe Innovation, and other key players in Indian finance.

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