See Clear Advantage In A Central Bank Digital Currency, Says Nirmala Sitharaman
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharman on Tuesday said that the proposed digital rupee, which she had announced in the union budget, is a conscious call which was taken in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the government sees clear advantage in a central bank driven digital currency.
On the issue of regulating cryptocurrency, Ms Sitharaman – while addressing the India Global Forum in Bengaluru – wasn’t willing to get into whether the government would be regulating or banning it.
She said that consultations are currently on (over cryptocurrency) and the government would be talking about it.
“The consultations are on….anybody interested in this domain are welcome to participate, after the consultation process gets duly completed , the (finance) ministry would probably sit and mull over it, which is required because we need the executive to be sure that we are not crossing any legal requirements, post which we will be coming out with what’s our position on it,” she said.
Elaborating on the proposed digital rupee, Ms Sitharaman said, “It was a conscious call taken in consultation with the central bank (RBI). We would like them to design it the way they would like to do it, but this year we expect the currency to come out from the central bank itself.”
“We see clear advantages in a central bank driven digital currency, because in this day and age, bulk payments happening between- countries, large transactions between institutions and large transactions between central banks themselves of each country- are all better enabled with digital currency,” she added further.
To a question whether she sees a future for crypto in India, the finance minister said, “many Indians have seen a lot of future in it, and therefore I see a possibility for revenue in it.”
Speaking on the union budget 2022-23, the finance minister said the reference to the ‘Amrit Kaal’ in the budget is for more and more of digitisation, more and more of technology.
She said, “infusing technology into the country in every aspect of our business is going to be a challenge, because we are also labour rich, in the sense intense skilled, semi skilled, partly skilled, high technology skilled youngsters are in abundance, so how are we going to have these two sit side by side, without hurting each other, that is where this budget is important.”
Pointing out that 75 Digital Banking Units (DBUs) have been announced in this budget, Ms Sitharaman said India need them because the country is at a stage where in spite of pushing through a nationalised banking network for 75 years, banking and financial inclusion have not been as much as what we wanted them to be.
“The announcement of DBUs implicitly meant that we are looking for people who want to set it up and that we (govt) will be with them,” she said while pointing out that common citizens of India without hesitation have adapted to digital mode of doing businesses and facilities need to be provided for it.