Embracing cryptocurrency, Japan has a new law that will make bitcoins usable as legal tender. Companies hoping to deal in the new currency, however, must submit to a long list of regulations to ensure that the ‘coins’ are not being used for criminal activity.
Among the regulations, a company is required to have at least $100,000 in reserve currency, report their activities to the government regularly, and undergo routine external audits by the Japanese National Tax Agency.
Japanese companies wishing to use bitcoins will be expected to pay the equivalent of some $300,000 to adopt bitcoin, and there is no guarantee that they will receive a license, even if they abide by government edicts. The steep price tag will likely discourage smaller Japanese companies from adopting the cryptocurrency.
The measures have been put in place, according to reports, to protect the rights of consumers, as bitcoins have been involved in several notorious scams. The most famous of these was the Mt. Gox scandal, in which a bitcoin exchange company was found to be artificially inflating their holdings. At its 2013 peak, Mt. Gox handled about 70 percent of bitcoin transactions in Japan, but the scandal shuttered them.
Any move by the Indian government to treat currency that is not surrendered during the ongoing demonetization process as a profit will be “ill-advised,” former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor D. Subbarao has warned.
Speaking at MintAsia’s global banking conclave in Singapore, Subbarao cited speculation that the Indian government could use the currency that is not returned to solve its fiscal problems or to recapitalize banks, but pointed out that such a step would send out the wrong message.
“Then demonetization will be viewed as being done with other motives, rather than fighting black money,” Subbarao said.
“For argument’s sake, let us assume that a quarter of the Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes in circulation does not come back—this is equivalent to about Rs3.5 trillion, and can be considered as a windfall profit for the RBI. By law, the central bank has to transfer all its profit to the government. If RBI treats this as a profit, and the Centre demands that this be transferred to it, and they use this to play Robin Hood or to recapitalize the banks, or for whatever other purposes, this will send out the wrong message. I don’t believe that this is the intention of the current government, but if they were to do such a thing, it will be highly ill-advised,” he said.
Subbarao also said that he was unsure about the legal position on whether the RBI could claim unreturned currency as profit.
According to him, all currency notes carry a legal obligation, as the “RBI has guaranteed that it will pay the bearer the sum or the value of the denomination that is printed on that note.”
The RBI today called for intensifying structural reforms and focusing on the land and labour markets to realise the potential of the economy and avoid jobless growth.
In its annual report for 2015-16, the apex bank said various governments need to act together in this direction.
“Labour regulations are often cited to be a significant barrier to growth, particularly with regard to large and medium-scale manufacturing companies.
“Initiatives taken by some states to amend labour laws are a good starting point. Second, land acquisition processes are another critical factor affecting the pace of investment. States may consider putting in place a transparent and viable framework, de-bottlenecking land constraints, as in Andhra Pradesh, to drive the capex cycle,” it said.
In a 10-minute video message to the nation, Japan’s Emperor Akihito opened up about his reported hopes of ceding the throne while his health lasts. The emperor did not directly comment on his wish to abdicate or use the word, but he said that a deterioration of his fitness levels has made him “worried that it may become difficult for me to carry out my duties as the symbol of the state with my whole being as I have done until now.”
Akihito, now 82, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 and underwent coronary bypass surgery in 2012. Rehabilitation and regular exercise have helped him stay healthy, but he said that after his two surgeries, he began “to feel a decline in my fitness level because of my advancing age,” and started “to think about the pending future, how I should conduct myself should it become difficult for me to carry out my heavy duties in the way I have been doing, and what would be best for the country, for the people, and also for the Imperial family members who will follow after me.”
He added: “It is my hope that … the duties of the emperor as the symbol of the state can continue steadily without a break. With this earnest wish, I have decided to make my thoughts known.”
Akihito also said that establishing a regency is undesirable because, “Even in such cases … it does not change the fact that the emperor continues to be the emperor till the end of his life, even though he is unable to fully carry out his duties as the emperor.”
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the banking sectormay soon have to disclose the name of defaulters to people seeking such data under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Supreme Court (SC), on Wednesday, ruled that bankers cannot deny information on defaulters and irregularities on grounds of “economic interest, commercial confidence, and fiduciary relationship.”
The SC dismissed a large number of appeals moved by Reserve Bank of India, ICICI Bank and National Bank of Agricultural and Rural Development (Nabard), invoking banking rules and confidentiality to deny the information. The appeals came against orders of the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) in various cases.
“The facts reveal that as banks are trying to cover up their underhand actions, they are even more liable to be subjected to public scrutiny,” the court remarked, adding that it has surmised that many financial institutions have resorted to acts which are neither clean nor transparent.
Welcoming the apex court’s ruling senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for two respondents, said: “The SC’s decision shows how public authorities and public institutions like the RBI are trying to defeat the objective of the Right to Information by giving frivolous excuses.”
“Companies who are defaulters with no net worth or who have siphoned off money are sought to be hidden. Why? In fact, this information should be proactively put up on a website by the banks and RBI should be encouraging disclosure of information,” Prashant Bhushan said
Narendra Modi government today reached out to the Opposition including the Congress by agreeing to incorporate in the The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2015, a provision requiring real estate developers to deposit 70 per cent of the project cost in a separate escrow account.
Congress and CPI(M) has demanded this provision specifically to be included in the proposed Bill.
Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved several amendments to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015 aimed to protect the interests of buyers while at the same time promoting investments in the sector.
According to a senior Urban Development Ministry official, the government has gone beyond the recommendations of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha which has recommended the minimum 50 per cent of sale proceeds shall be deposited in a statement account.
The decision of cabinet today has significantly improved the prospects of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2015 being passed in the current session provided the Congress allowed normal functioning of Parliament.
There are several changes in the Bill based on the recommendations of the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha that has examined the Bill pending in Rajya Sabha and the official amendments proposed earlier.
Reuters notes Russian Duma speaker Naryshkin says they’ve beefed up military resources for security of their fighter jets
He adds that aside from using international law, following the shooting down of the jet, Moscow also has the right to a military response
Between him and Erdogan it all looks to be a lot of chest beating. Let’s hope it all just stays hot air. Anymore posturing comments like these and markets could decide to reduce more risk into the weekend
CPI(M) today demanded that the Centre should enact a law to provide reservation to SC and ST communities in the private sector, stressing it would be best way to observe the anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill, 2015 be brought to its logical conclusion and reservation be extended to private sector, as the special sitting of Parliament got underway.
“Is the BJP govt ready to take The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Bill 2015 to its logical conclusion? Is the BJP govt ready to enact a law for extending reservations to the private sector? @cpimspeak @CPIMPARLIAMENT
“Is the BJP govt ready to enact laws providing statutory status to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plan? @cpimspeak @CPIMPARLIAMENT. This is the least that the Parliament can do to carry forward Dr. Ambedkar’s vision. This is the best way to observe this anniversary,” Yechury tweeted.
Talking to reporters, Yechury underscored need for such reservation saying employment opportunities in the public sector is “shrinking” and called for quota in jobs in private domain.
The special sitting is being held on the first two days of nearly month-long Winter Session of Parliament to mark adoption of the Constitution and commemorate its architect B R Ambedkar.
German prosecutors have launched a preliminary inquiry into former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn, focusing on allegations of fraud relating to the sale of cars with manipulated emissions tests.
Prosecutors in Lower Saxony have also also filed a criminal charge against the company
Prosecutors said in a statement that the aim of the preliminary inquiry is to identify those responsible for the alleged crime.