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Govt examining various aspects of virtual currencies

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-07-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The government has set up a panel to look into various aspects, including usage, of crypto currencies like bitcoins, minister of state for finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said on Friday.

The inter-ministerial panel held a meeting recently, he said. “The stakeholders consultation is on. Once it is finalized we would be in a position to inform,” Meghwal said on the sidelines of a CII event. RBI governor Urjit Patel earlier this month had informed a parliamentary panel that it is keeping a close watch on transactions involving crypto currencies.

The government has been debating issues concerning bitcoins and sought public opinion on allowing virtual currencies a few months ago. The circulation of such currencies have been a cause of concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. In March, the finance ministry had constituted an inter-disciplinary committee to take stock of the present status of virtual currencies both in India and globally and suggest measures for dealing with such currencies. Bitcoins were in the news recently after a massive global ransomware attack—WannaCry—hit systems in over 100 countries. The cyber criminals demanded a fee of about $300 in crypto currencies like bitcoin for unlocking affected devices.

On the goods and services tax (GST), Meghwal said that the government is keeping a watch on impact of GST on prices of various commodities. A team of 180 officials and 30 ministers are monitoring the price impact. “They are getting feedback from various districts and towns and also trying to assess what kind of procedural difficulties business are facing. Procedural issues are sorted out by tax authorities while issues related with taxes will be taken up in the GST council meeting scheduled for August 5,” he said.

Meghwal also said that the government has saved Rs57,000 crore by weeding out corruption from various schemes through the use of technology. “This is the first government which has been able to check corruption and plug the leakage through the use of information, communication and technology (ICT),” he said.

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