ATMs go dry as RBI delays cash remittance

Current deposit in ATMs will not last long: SBI Itanagar

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Apr 17: The cash drought in the automated teller machines (ATM) in and around the capital complex and in several other districts has left the public in a state of perpetual anguish for the last couple of weeks.
The cash crisis began about four months back; since then, it has become a regular phenomenon.
The authorities of the State Bank of India’s (SBI) Itanagar branch blame the Guwahati branch of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for delaying remittance of cash to the Itanagar branch.
Speaking to The Arunachal Times, SBI authorities informed that the bank had to make “internal arrangement of cash from Basar and Seppa branches” to address the cash deficit in the capital complex.
“However, we have to ensure that cash withdrawal is limited to a certain amount. If not, the recently remitted cash from other branches will be exhausted within three days,” the authorities said.
They said the problem has been aggravated following the RBI’s inability to remit cash which was scheduled to be remitted within the second week of this month.
The SBI ATMs in and around the capital complex alone need around Rs 5 crore per day.
Even as the SBI’s Itanagar branch is struggling to temporarily address the cash crunch by remitting cash from its district branches, the crisis refuses to abate any time soon as is evident from similar reports from several parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and poll-bound Karnataka.
There are several reports claiming shortage of currency, and of ATMs running down, which the government on Tuesday attributed to an unusual spurt in demand in the last three months.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the “temporary shortage” in certain states is being “tackled quickly” and that there is “more than adequate” currency in circulation.
Jaitley, who has been away from office since 2 April due to a kidney ailment, said he has reviewed the currency situation in the country.
“Overall, there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the banks. The temporary shortage caused by sudden and unusual increase (in demand) in some areas is being tackled quickly,” he said in a tweet.
The government is checking with banks and the RBI to ensure adequate supply of currency. A statement by the finance ministry confirmed reports of cash shortages and some ATMs running dry of cash or becoming non-functional in some parts of the country.
“There has been unusual spurt in currency demand in the country in last three months,” it said.
While currency supply increased by Rs 45,000 crore in the first 13 days of April, “unusual spurt in demand” was seen more in some parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It said said Minister of State for Finance, Shiv Pratap Shukla, said the government has formed a committee to address the problem of currency shortage in certain states and the issue would be resolved in the next 2-3 days.
“The government has set up state-wise committees and the RBI has also formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to other because for money transfer you need the permission of the RBI. It (the shortage) will be solved in 2-3 days,” he said.
RBI report shows that the currency in circulation in the country has reached the pre-demonetization level of about Rs 17 lakh crore.
“The Government of India with the Reserve Bank of India have taken all steps to meet this unusual demand. We had adequate reserves of currency notes which have been used to meet fully the extraordinary demand generated so far,” the finance ministry statement said.
“We continue to have in stock adequate currency notes of all denominations, including of Rs 500, Rs 200 and Rs 100 to meet any demand,” it added.
The government said there has been adequate supply of currency notes to meet entire demand.
“The government would also like to assure that it would be supplying adequate currency notes to meet even higher levels of demand if such demand were to continue in the coming days/months,” it said.
Also, steps are being taken to ensure that ATMs are supplied with cash and non-functional ATMs normalized at the earliest.
SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar said it would not be correct to state that there is a currency shortage in the country. There has been an “imbalance” due to the crop procurement season, when demand for currency goes up, he said, adding Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are seeing heightened demand because of the procurement season. (With PTI inputs)