Banks on Wednesday faced a massive cash crunch as salaried professionals looked to take home at least part of their salaries in cash. Many banks also persuaded customers to pull out less cash and use electronic channels at least for a few days. This cash crunch is expected to persist on Thursday too! According to a TOI report, the government has moved to further scale up the printing of Rs 500 notes, hoping that the new stock of the elusive currency will ease the situation in the next few days.
Sources told TOI that the four currency printing presses, two owned by RBI at Mysuru and Salboni, and two government-owned ones at Nashik and Devas, which were operating two shifts, have now started working three shifts. “Supply to other banks will definitely improve. We are air-lifting 500-rupee notes. There will be some pressure initially but in the next few days it will ease,” a government source told TOI. Private banks have been making arrangements to distribute funds in companies which have a salary account with them through mobile devices. “For several years now, bulk of salary withdrawals are happening through ATMs. To take care of salary demand, we have filled our ATMs with Rs 2,000 notes,” an official with a public sector bank told TOI.
The country’s biggest lender, State Bank of India is taking all steps to ensure customers are not disappointed. Nevertheless, given how woefully short of cash banks have been, Rajnish Kumar, managing director, tried to temper expectations saying it was possible some branches might see a slight shortfall. “Yes, arrangements are in place at all our branches,” Kumar said, confirming there would be more people manning the counters. “We will also have people to manage the crowd so that the process is an orderly one,” the managing director added. Of the bank’s 48,000 ATMs, around 39,000 have been recalibrated.
Banks moved to ease the shortage with HDFC Bank signing a deal with Federation of Retail Traders’ Welfare Association to provide cash at point of sale machines to cardholders. Following this, some marquee outlets will be allowing customers to swipe cards for cash.