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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Sunday defended conditions at US Border Patrol stations following reports of crowded and unsanitary conditions that have heightened debate about President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, a trademark issue for his reelection campaign. “It’s an extraordinarily challenging situation,” McAleenan tells ABC’s This Week , per…
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India’s crypto regulation is reportedly ready and there has been much speculation about what it contains. An Indian lawyer has gotten some answers from the Reserve Bank of India about a bill allegedly seeking to ban cryptocurrencies. Surprisingly, the central bank claims that it does not have any knowledge of this bill and did not endorse any ideas towards a complete ban on cryptocurrencies.
RTI Request to RBI
Indian lawyer Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, revealed Wednesday that he has received a reply to the Right to Information (RTI) request his team filed with the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
This RTI was filed on May 7 following an article published on April 26 by the Economic Times about a bill entitled “Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019.” The article cites an unnamed government official claiming to have knowledge of the bill. “Our team was expecting to get insights about RBI role in helping draft the bill since it had been proactive in educating and informing investors about risks of cryptocurrencies,” the Blockchain Lawyer team explained after receiving a reply on June 4.
While the article claims that several government ministries were involved in the drafting of this bill, Sethi and his team decided to file their RTI with the central bank. Noting that the RBI has been a key minister in informing investors about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies in the past, Sethi explained:
We feel that the Reserve Bank has been issuing these notifications to investors so we thought that they must be aware of this bill and I feel that they are a good contributor to this proposed bill so they might have some information.
This is not the first time Sethi filed an RTI with the central bank. After the RBI issued its infamous circular in April last year banning banks from providing services to crypto businesses, he filed an RTI asking what research it did before imposing this restriction. “The RBI specifically mentions that it conducted no research or consultation before the implementation of [the] restriction,” he was quoted as saying. A number of industry participants have filed writ petitions with the country’s supreme court to lift the ban. The court is expected to hear the case on July 23.
Another RTI was recently filed regarding this bill but with the Department of Economic Affairs instead of the RBI. However, it was rejected based on RTI’s Section 8(1)(i).
RBI Denies any Knowledge or Involvement
The RTI Sethi filed contains five nine-part questions primarily concerning the central bank’s role in the aforementioned bill.
In its reply, the central bank denied “any written correspondence from other ministerial departments officially to RBI,” declared that it had never “sent out official communication to other departments for this matter,” and confirmed that there had not been “any communication received from Central Government in this matter.”
Further, the RBI claims that it had neither received any copy of this draft bill nor held any internal meeting “to discuss, deliberate and decide the plan of action ahead of how to ban cryptocurrencies and regulate official digital currency bill.”
RBI has actually stated that they have not received any communication from any department and they have also not given any communication to any government department pertaining to [the] drafting of this bill and this is very surprising.
The lawyer reiterated, “we felt that RBI was a very crucial contributor for drafting this bill,” noting that “this is very interesting that if a draft bill is being created, [and] no communication either to or from RBI has actually happened.”
RBI Did Not Endorse a Complete Ban
The Economic Times article also reported that “A number of government departments including the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) have endorsed the idea of a complete ban on the sale, purchase and issuance of all types of cryptocurrency,” citing the unnamed government official.
Responding to questions about its involvement, the central bank proceeded to deny endorsing any such idea to other government departments, emphasizing that it never received any “written communication” or “copy of such endorsement from any other government department in this matter.”
RBI did not actually propose any ban on crypto assets … [We also asked] did anyone else also propose these things to RBI … RBI said no.
Moreover, the central bank also does not have information to share regarding any delays on crypto regulation.
Why Wasn’t RBI Involved?
According to the Economic Times, the unnamed government official told the news outlet that the crypto-banning bill had been “circulated to relevant government departments.”
One of the questions in the RTI concerns the relevancy of the central bank for the drafting of this bill. “Is there information that RBI is not the relevant authority to take decisions in this matter?” Sethi asked, anticipating that the central bank might say that it had no knowledge of this bill. The central bank simply replied that it “does not have information in this regard.”
Drilling deeper, Sethi asked if the RBI had made any efforts to obtain a copy of the draft bill that had apparently been circulated to other relevant government departments, given that the RBI claims on its website that it “has been initiating many investor education notifications educating investors to refrain from investing in cryptocurrencies and risks involved therein.”
He also questioned, “what are the legal rights as per the powers entrusted with RBI, in case the bill is being discussed without the knowledge of RBI?” While maintaining that it did not have the information to answer these questions, the central bank confirmed that it had never “issued any circular/notification/public communication in this matter on its official website regarding such bill.”
Regarding the view of the committee with representatives from the DEA, CBDT, CBIC, and the IEPFA that “already there is a lot of delay in taking action against cryptocurrency,” the lawyer asked if an RBI officer was part of the committee and if the RBI made any submissions in this matter. The central bank replied, “RBI does not have information in this regard.”
Sethi reiterated, “RBI clearly stated that it had not received any communication from any government department or given any information to any government department in this matter,” and no RBI officer helped draft this bill. He elaborated:
This comes as a surprise since RBI is a key player in investor education and protection … not even a single RBI officer is actually part of the committee that has been created for [the] drafting of this bill.
Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, commended Sethi for getting an answer out of the RBI and for “busting misinformation in the crypto sector in India.” He previously told news.Bitcoin.com that traders in India were not deterred by this rumor and his exchange saw rising trading volumes. “The report did not really affect volumes at all … Unless we hear something concrete from our finance department I don’t think it’s going to affect existing traders,” he shared. Commenting on RBI’s replies, the CEO remarked:
Is the bill even real or has there just been fake news being spread?
The Questionable Minutes
The Economic Times also claims to have reviewed minutes of the interministerial meeting which states that “There is an urgent need to ban sale purchase and issuance of cryptocurrency.”
Sethi asked the central bank to confirm if said minutes were from any meetings held at the RBI or any of the offices it controls or regulates. He also wanted to know if the RBI has the right to share such minutes with the news outlet. Without confirming or denying, the bank simply answered:
It is not clear as to which minutes of the meeting is being quoted by the news article published in Economic Times.
This RTI has significantly shed some light on the rumor of the bill to ban cryptocurrencies in India. Last week, the country’s new finance secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg, reportedly confirmed that the cryptocurrency regulation is ready. He heads an interministerial panel tasked with studying all aspects of cryptocurrencies and drafting India’s crypto regulation. India will be participating in the G20 meetings this month where crypto asset regulations and standards will be heavily discussed.
Do you think this bill to ban cryptocurrencies is legitimate? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Varun Sethi.
The post India’s Central Bank Denies Knowledge of Bill to Ban Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Like a bull who keeps returning to the china shop, President Donald Trump is headed back to Europe, where on previous visits he has strained historic friendships and insulted his hosts. This time, he faces an ally in turmoil and a global call to renew democratic pacts, the AP reports….
US and allies set to present ‘evidence’ of Iran attacks in Middle East, as Bolton denies policy rift with TrumpMay 31, 2019 | dailybusinessnews
America and its allies in the Middle East are planning to present evidence of Iranian complicity in the attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf to the United Nations Security Council, according to US National Security Advisor John Bolton.Speaking in London before Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK next week, Mr Bolton warned that the “threat was not over” from Iran and that the country “will be held accountable.”“There will be strong response,” to any further acts of violence, he added. He accused Tehran of involvement either directly, or through proxy forces, in carrying out attacks on international shipping, oil pipelines and port facilities in neighbouring countries.Mr Bolton made his charge amid rising tension in the region after the US dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and B52 bombers and ordered the deployment of additional ground troops.It also comes during continuing friction between the Trump administration and Western allies, including Britain, over the Iran nuclear deal.Mr Bolton claimed in Abu Dhabi, on his way to London, that it was “clear that Iran is behind” the attacks on the tankers and that “naval mines almost certainly from Iran” caused the damage to the ships.Tehran has described the charges as “ludicrous,” with the Foreign Ministry declaring that “Iran’s strategic patience, vigilance (and) defensive prowess will defuse mischievous plots made by Bolton and other warmongers”.Mr Bolton has called for regime change in Tehran on numerous occasions in the past, as the Iranian government of Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly pointed out. President Trump stated earlier this year that the US was not seeking regime change and repeated calls for talks with the leadership in Tehran.Asked by The Independent whether he was at odds with the president on this issue of regime change, Mr Bolton said “before I became national security advisor I said and wrote a lot of things on every subject. I believed what I wrote then and I still do. But I am National Security Advisor, not National Security decision maker.“The policy we are pursuing is not a policy of regime change, that’s a fact and everybody should understand that.”However Mr Bolton went on to accuse Iran of involvement in the tanker assaults, adding that “there is some prospect that evidence of this will be presented to the Security Council next week.”“There are a series of meetings under way on this in Saudi Arabia, the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation … I don’t think there’s anybody who is familiar with the situation in the region and have examined the evidence can come to any other conclusion that these attacks were carried out by Iran and its surrogates.“We are looking at all the evidence and we are looking at it in a responsible and prudent fashion … We say there is a lot of activity that goes on in that part of the world which is attributable to Iran because of their prior conduct, because of their statements and because of information that comes into our possession which I am not going to discuss further.”Mr Bolton accused Iran of direct and indirect culpability.“When the Houthis use drones or ballistic missiles, they don’t make them, they get them from somewhere.“I think it’s fair to hold Iran accountable even without more information because of the foreseeable consequences of giving such weapons to the Houthis. In terms of attacks on pipelines, it’s possible the Houthis did it, or it came from somewhere else too, more directly from Iran,” he said.The Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group, claimed responsibility for an attack on a Saudi oil pipeline in mid-May.Differences remained, Mr Bolton acknowledged, between the US and its allies over the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran.The other international signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China— as well as the UN and EU insist that Tehran has adhered to its obligations and are attempting to save the agreement which they say has stopped Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.The European Union is putting together a financial programme which seeks to enable businesses to trade with Iran in the face of US sanctions.Mr Bolton held up the possibility that Britain’s position on supporting the programme may change after Brexit. “By definition as an independent country you can make up your own policy – it’s different once you are outside the European Union,” he said.
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