Whether the demonetisation of Rs 500 & Rs 1,000 notes have yielded any positive response to wipe out black money or not, one thing for sure is that the rural people at large have more to lose than gain from this monetary reformation. There has been a significant dip of withdrawal of cash through ATMs in rural India, particularly in the cash-vending machines that have been recalibrated and have loaded new currency notes of Rs 2,000. In rural areas, especially in North-East, these ATMs have seen a dip in transactions as most people have low account balance and withdraw less than one-thousand rupees at a time. Thus, people aren’t willing to withdraw the new Rs 2,000 notes, as they know that they won’t be getting a change for a small purchase of Rs 500 or say Rs 800.
Due to the signboard of Rs 100 notes and short supply of the new Rs 500 notes, most of the ATMs have a higher number of Rs 2,000 notes, which may not be of much use to the people in rural areas as they need not spend much at a time. However, the situation is expected to improve once the supply of the new Rs 500 notes get stabilised across the ATMs.
By November 21, over 82,000 ATMs that account for almost 40% of the total cash-vending machines, have been recalibrated after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a task force under Deputy Governor S S Mundra to look after the recalibration process of ATM machines.
Rituraj Sinha, president, Cash Logistics Association of India (CLAI) said, “The recalibration of ATMs is on track. We are able to recalibrate over 13,000 ATMs a day and even the availability of the Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes has increased.”
He predicted that the stiff task of recalibrating the ATMs is expected to be completed in the next 8 to 10 days.
Compared to rural India, urban India has seen more ATM machines being recalibrated as the density of cash-vending machines is more. In all, there are over 2.2 lakh ATMs in the country, spreading over 650 districts.