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"It will have to take its time...for all of us to be sure that, at the very least, with the knowledge we have, we are making the best decision possible. It's not something that can be rushed through "she stated

The minister stressed that the government is willing to support innovation and well-founded progress in distributed ledger technology, such as the blockchain.

"So, our objective is in no way to stifle this (crypto) innovation...but (we need to) define for ourselves...," she explained.

Cryptocurrencies, according to the minister, could be used for money laundering or terror financing.

So, these are some of the concerns that many countries, including India, have and that are discussed in global, multilateral venues, she noted.

India intends to launch a digital currency backed by the central bank, known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

The RBI would issue the digital rupee, or CBDC, in the coming fiscal year, according to Ms Sitharaman's Budget speech on February 1.

She had also stated that beginning April 1, the government would apply a 30% tax on gains made from any other private digital assets.

T Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, remarked that a sophisticated and calibrated strategy is required for the launch of India's first digital currency, since it will have a variety of ramifications for the economy and monetary policy.

He claims that the most important learning comes from personal experience rather than global experience.

Ms Sitharaman stated that the merging of HDFC and HDFC Bank is a good step since India requires many more large banks to meet its expanding infrastructure funding demands.

HDFC Bank, India's largest private lender, agreed earlier this month to buy the country's largest domestic mortgage lender in a deal worth around USD 40 billion, establishing a financial services behemoth in the country's corporate history.

The aggregate asset base of the proposed entity will be roughly 18 lakh crore. Subject to regulatory approvals, the merger is scheduled to be finalised in the second or third quarter of FY24.

HDFC and its two wholly-owned subsidiaries, HDFC Holdings and HDFC Investments, are merging with HDFC Bank in this deal.

HDFC, as the firm's promoter, owns 21% of the lender, together with two subsidiaries, making it more than double the size of private sector rival ICICI Bank after the merger.

Ms Sitharaman stated that some initiatives had been taken to overcome the digital divide.

When asked about the under-reporting of COVID mortality figures, she explained that the data supplied by the federal government was gathered from state reports.

She explained that the revision was due to modifications made by state governments, and that some deaths that occurred at home were updated later by states.