RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has sought an outright ban on buying, selling and investing in crypto currencies in India. The 15th Rashtriya Sabha of SJM, organised between December 24 and 26, passed a resolution demanding the government to not recognise cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. as ‘asset’ or ‘digital asset’ as that will result in cryprocurrencies indirectly becoming a medium of exchange like currency.

“Unlike other assets like land, gold and shares, ‘crypto-assets’ have characteristics of divisibility and portability and likely to become an accepted medium of exchange, and thus creep towards being a crytpo-currency,” SJM warned.

The organisation said that recognition of cryptocurrency may lead to heavy speculation, which may in term adversely impact financial markets, may result in money laundering and terror financing, and also result into capital account convertibility from the back door.

“Persons holding cryptocurrencies may be allowed to sell or exchange the same within a short span of time subject to provision of submitting the information to Income Tax Department. Goverrnment should ban online trading platform for buying, selling or otherwise dealing in cryptocurrencies or crypto-assets presently in circulation. Disobeying ban should make person/entity liable to financial penalty,” the SJM resolution said.

According to SJM, while use of blockchain technology in all spheres of economic or social activities must be encouraged, it should not be linked to cryptocurrencies.

“Ministry of Consumer Affairs as well as Ministry of Corporate Affairs should make aggressive consumer awareness campaign regarding ban on cryptocurrencies and advice not to fall prey to deceptive advertisements being circulated by the so-called cryptocurrency exchanges, especially in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities,” SJM demanded.

The organisation called for law related to issuance of digital currency by the Reserve Bank of India (CBDC) to be framed quickly, and CBDC to be considered as legal tender. The resolution comes in the wake of the introduction of 'Crypto Currency and Government Digital Currency Bill 2021' by the Central government.

“Though the government and Reserve Bank of India have been in favour of restricting trading in cryptos, Supreme Court gave a verdict which said that since the government has not banned cryptocurrencies legally, it’s not within the right of RBI to issue instructions to banks, to not deal with cryptos. With this, crypto exchanges started trading cryptocurrencies on large scale. Although there is no official information about this, it is estimated that about 20 million people have put their money in cryptocurrencies. People (mostly youth) of small and big cities and even villages are getting attracted towards it, because they feel that they can get quick profit by putting their money in it,” said Ashwani Mahajan, national co-convenor, SJM.

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