Regulation of crypto assets under discussion

Multilateral institutions have activated the process of formulating globally acceptable standards of regulation

By H. P. Ranina

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Published: Sat 31 Dec 2022, 3:40 PM

Question: One of the crypto currency exchanges is facing bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. As many crypto investors and traders have burnt their fingers, is there any move to control the rot?

ANSWER: There are two schools of thought on this subject – one is to regulate crypto transactions and the other is to completely ban them. India, which has now become the president of the G20, is asking governments to take a decision on this matter. The US Treasury Secretary wants countries to come together and formulate a common framework for regulating crypto assets. It is proposed that a high regulatory standard should be set up globally and steps be taken to reduce the cost of cross border payments. The Financial Action Task Force and multilateral institutions like the International Monetary Fund have activated the process of formulating globally acceptable standards of regulation. The general view is that a complete ban on crypto assets cannot be enforced as it can be circumvented and there is no foolproof mechanism which can make the ban effective.

Question: While India is able to cap its import bill due to oil being purchased at a concessional rate, exports are not growing fast enough to restrict the trade deficit, which has ballooned recently. Is this trend likely to reverse?

ANSWER: With the growth in the Indian economy, the value of imports of raw materials, consumables, spare parts, etc. is bound to go up. There can be no control over international commodity prices and therefore this challenge has to be faced. However, it is expected that despite recessionary trends, exports will increase in the near future as India is entering into free trade agreements with several countries including the UAE, which has been recently operationalised. The agreement with Australia has already been finalised and agreements with the United Kingdom and certain South American countries are on the anvil. One of the main sectors which will be leading the surge in exports is the textile sector for which the target fixed for exports is $100 billion. A recent agreement signed with trade bodies will give a substantial boost to cotton producers by ensuring them a fair market price based on the quality of their produce. A protocol has been signed for branding, traceability and certification of Indian cotton, which will cover the entire cotton value chain. Silk production has also been given a boost and quality standard rules are being strictly enforced. Apart from textiles, solar module exports have registered a dramatic increase, mainly to the United States. Many European countries are also importing solar modules from India as part of their drive to move towards renewable energy and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Question: The justice delivery system in India has always been a sore point with foreign investors especially when it comes to settlement of commercial disputes and contract enforcement. Is anything being done to tone up the process?

ANSWER: Several steps are being taken by the present Chief Justice of India to speed up disposal of pending cases. In the last month, the Supreme Court disposed of more than 300 cases in a day nine times, just prior to the Christmas vacation. With appointment of additional judges, faster disposal of pending cases is bound to pick up. One of the strategies is to dispose of cases on the same legal issue by bunching them together and constituting a Bench to dispose them of. In course of time, it is expected that technology tools like artificial intelligence and data analytics will be used by the judiciary and officers who assist the judges. Automation can be used for researching legal precedents which can be applied to the facts of a case. Machine learning technology can also be introduced for improving accuracy which will reduce time in delivering judgments. Legal software is now increasingly being used to dispose of cases, like under tenancy and guardianship laws. Comprehensive software is also available in respect of tax related legislation. It is therefore expected that in the next two to three years the pendency of cases will come down.

H.P. Ranina is a practising lawyer, specialising in tax and exchange management laws of India.

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