ATM cash crunch may be over soon
Mumbai: A day after the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that currency note production would be increased, big public sector banks said that things were returning to normal.
State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, said that availability of cash at its ATMs had improved in the past 24 hours.
“Efforts are being made on a continuous basis to improve the cash availability further in a few geographies. Overall issue of less cash should come to normalcy within soonest possible time,” Neeraj Vyas, a deputy managing director at the lender said in an emailed statement.
Similarly, Punjab National Bank clarified that its ATMs were functioning.
“Overall, Punjab National Bank has not faced any cash shortage in its ATMs across the country and continue to function as usual. Out of 9,679 PNB ATMs, there is a 90% availability of ATMs which is normal,” said the large north-India-based bank in an emailed statement.
Separately, a central government official in New Delhi said on condition of anonymity that the cash crunch situation has improved on Wednesday and will get back to normal in the next few days.
More than 80% of the ATMs are functioning, the official said adding that the government is in constant touch with banks and the Reserve Bank of India to ensure that the ATMs are adequately stocked.
A second official said that the Centre had a meeting with officials of state-run banks over video conference to discuss the situation.
News reports from various parts of the county including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Bihar had talked about ATMs running out of cash in several locations. Government officials had attributed the shortage to an “unusual” demand for cash, but the reasons for said demand spurt are still unclear.
In a late evening statement on Tuesday, RBI clarified that there is no currency shortage. However, the central bank said that shortage may be felt in some pockets largely due to logistical issues of replenishing ATMs frequently and that it was increasing the production of currency notes.
The central bank also said it was “asking steps to move currency to areas which are witnessing unusually large cash withdrawals.”
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