Reserve Bank of India has assured the country that there is enough cash in small denominations available at the central bank and other banks even as there was no respite for cash-starved people queuing up outside banks and ATMs since early morning on Sunday. Urging public not be anxious, RBI said there is no need to come over to banks repeatedly to draw and hoard. Due to bank closure tomorrow in some parts of the country, distressed people are thronging branches since most of the ATMs are out of cash. Much to people’s dismay, only 60 per cent of ATMs got valid currency feed five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced surprise demonetisation of two higher value currency notes. Even these 1.2 lakh ATMs (out of total 2 lakh) are running out of cash in few hours, leaving people frustrated, a report said. Earlier, the Reserve Bank of India has urged “members of public to be patient”, stating that there “is enough cash available with banks and all arrangements have been made to reach the currency notes all over the country.” In a statement, The Reserve Bank of India said some banks are still working on recalibrating their cash withdrawal machines, partly to ensure they are compliant with the temporary limit of Rs. 2,000 per card per day.
Accepting that the common man is being inconvenienced, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday said it may still take up to three weeks for ATMs to start functioning normally.
“ATMs could not have been calibrated (before the demonetisation announcement) because of secrecy issue. Thousands of people are involved in recalibration exercise (and) secrecy could not have been maintained. Recalibration takes at least 2-3 weeks,” Jaitley had said.
According to a senior official at Canara Bank branch in central Delhi, today is testing time for bankers. To meet the heavy rush, more counters have been opened and middle management, including AGMs and DGMs, are dispensing cash at many branches.