Fifty days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation policy, an acute shortage of currency persists at ATMs across the country with only 35-40% of the 2.2 lakh machines dispensing cash, according to leading deployers.
According to Ramaswamy Venkatachalam, managing director, India and South Asia of Fidelity Information Services (FIS), a banking and payments technology provider, banks are still not able to provide the “full cash requirement” for running ATMs on a 24×7 basis.
“Around 37 per cent of FIS’ 12,000 ATMs are dispensing cash. The country numbers are also in the range of 35-40%. (Lack of) cash availability in the right denominations is the main reason for ATMs not working,” Venkatachalam told The Indian Express.
“If we are raising an indent of say R100 crore for ATMs, we are only getting one-third of it from the banks. This has affected the functioning of the ATMs in the country,” said Navroz Dastur, managing director, NCR Corporation, India & South Asia, a leading ATM deployer with a market share of 47%.
While all ATMs have been recalibrated to hold and dispense new notes of R2,000 and R500, a number of them are only dispensing the higher-denomination note because of the shortage of notes of lesser value.
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“Typically, 5-10% of ATMs remain down at any point in time due to various reasons. Thus, it can be safely presumed that at least 1.8 to 1.9 lakh ATMs would have been functional at the time of the declaration of withdrawal of specified bank notes on the midnight of November 8. Since this happened on a Tuesday and within the first 10 days of the month, which is a peak period, most of the ATMs would have been replenished and would be dispensing cash at the time of the announcement. On the 28th (December), around 40% or around 0.8 lakh of the total ATMs would have dispensed cash but not up to full capacity,” said Venkatachalam.
Typically, an ATM has four containers, known as cassettes, which can contain 2,500 individual currency notes each. In all, an ATM can only contain a maximum of 10,000 currency notes at any given time. Each cassette can only contain one type of currency note.