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Lawmakers in Russia have put forward amendments to the digital ruble bill, including changes to debt operations, services for non-residents, and the role of the central bank, as the bill progresses through parliamentary hearings.

Lawmakers in Russia have proposed significant amendments to the digital ruble project as it progresses through parliamentary hearings.

The suggested changes aim to modify elements of the original bill, including debt operations, services for non-residents, and the role of the central bank.

Central bank’s role, data protection, and access

Interfax, a state-owned news agency, reported on the recommendations put forward by the committee on the financial market of the State Duma (Duma), which is responsible for preparing the digital ruble bill for its second reading.

Among the proposed amendments is a prohibition on the Bank of Russia’s participation in financing companies.

Instead, the central bank would solely operate the digital ruble platform. Additionally, the amendments would require the central bank to protect the private data of customers employed by the federal security service.

The new draft also seeks to facilitate easier access to the central bank digital currency (CBDC) platform for non-residents through foreign banks. These foreign banks would be permitted to join the platform, with non-residents facing no usage limitations.

Restrictions and progress

Currently, the bill allows enforcement agencies to withdraw debtors’ funds without restrictions if the debtors hold sufficient digital rubles.

However, the Duma’s legal department has expressed opposition to this provision, citing national laws that restrict the withdrawal of debtors’ funds beyond the minimum wage level, which amounts to approximately $195 per month.

The digital ruble bill, known as bill number 270838-8, passed its first reading in March. Initial plans aimed to enact the bill into law by April to launch a CBDC pilot.

However, the ongoing discussions surrounding the bill have led to a delay in the deadline. Interfax reports that subsequent readings of the bill are expected to take place by the end of July.

Meanwhile, Belarus, a neighboring country, has developed a pilot program for its own CBDC. The chairman of the national bank has stated that a decision regarding the issuance of a digital Belarussian ruble will be made by year-end.

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