Yerevan (CoinChapter): In a surprising turn of events, former Finance Secretary of India Subhash Chandra Garg has come out in support of cryptocurrencies, urging the Indian Government to encourage crypto services in the country.
During a virtual event organized on Thursday by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Subhash Chandra Garg opined that the Indian Government should regulate cryptocurrencies instead of prohibiting them.
“I don’t think we still have full clarity and understanding about how to regulate cryptocurrencies…Regulate, control cryptocurrencies but allow the crypto assets, encourage the crypto services,” Garg was heard saying.
SC Garg’s newfound support of crypto assets is a major boost for those promoting the technology in India and comes as a positive shift from his former stance as Finance Secretary.
Cryptocurrencies and India
As part of the Government back in 2019, S.C Garg headed the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that drafted the notorious cryptocurrency bill that the Indian Government planned to ban cryptocurrencies in India.
The bill, drafted by Garg’s Committee and titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019,” had proposed a total ban on the cryptocurrencies in the market, proposing strict penalties for those caught dealing in digital currency.
“The committee has recommended a law banning the cryptocurrencies in India and criminalizing carrying on of any activities connected with cryptocurrencies,” the report read.
Making evident the government’s skepticism of digital cryptocurrency, the bill made clear that “No person shall mine, generate, hold, sell, deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India.” And that anyone who “directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers disposes of or issues cryptocurrency … shall be punishable with fine or with imprisonment which shall not be less than one year but which may extend up to ten years, or both.”
Developments since last July have certainly changed the former Finance Secretary’s mind. Mr. Garg, in 2019 had taken to Twitter to defend the much-criticized decision of the Indian Government to ban cryptocurrency with the following tweet, “Private cryptocurrencies are of no real value. Rightly banned.”
Today, he seems to have had a change of heart and urges the Indian Government to “regulate cryptocurrency” but “encourage crypto services.” Whatever his reasons, this sure comes as a much-needed boost for the promoters of the technology in India.