New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said it will take all measures to eliminate the use crypto-assets in funding illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary also said the government will explore the use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.

“The government does not consider crypto-currencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” he said.

A High-Level Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Economic Affairs) to study the issues related to virtual currencies and propose specific actions to be taken in this matter recommended in its report that all private cryptocurrencies, except any cryptocurrency issued by the State, be prohibited in India.

The government would take a decision on the recommendations of the IMC and the legislative proposal, if any, would be introduced in Parliament following the due process, the minister said.

In another reply, Minister of State for Finance Bhagwat Karad said public sector banks (PSBs) have recovered Rs 4,52,480 crore during the last five financial years from defaulters in NPA and written-off accounts, and have made aggregate recovery of Rs 20,334 crore from wilful defaulters till March 31, 2021.

He further said the RBI has apprised that data on wilful defaulters are available with it since 2019, and as per data reported by banks to CRILC, the increase in total number of unique wilful defaulters reported by nationalised banks was 248 during 2019-20, which has decreased to 156 during 2020-21.

In another reply, Karad said the gross NPAs reported by public and private sector banks to CRILC (including exposures that are not categorised as corporate exposure on account of being between Rs 5 crore and Rs 7.5 crore) accounted for 66.8 per cent of the total gross NPAs.



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