If the latest proposal by the government is accepted, no cash will be loaded in the ATMs after 9 PM in cities. The proposal was made by the government this week citing incidents of attack on cash carrying vans. This means that the private cash transportation agencies will have to collect money from the banks in the first half of the day. Also, these vans will not be allowed to carry more than Rs 5 crore, the new SOPs have proposed. The organisations will have to deploy specially designed and secured cash vans for carrying money over Rs 5 lakh per trip. All cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities must only be carried out by operational staff who have undergone a thorough antecedent check.
The guidelines will be more strict in the rural and Naxal-affected areas. The deadline for putting money in the ATMs in rural areas would be 6 pm, and 4 pm in Naxal-affected districts. Two armed guards and a driver in each van must be trained to “disengage with the situation and drive vehicle to safety” in case of an attack, a home ministry official was quoted saying by PTI.
Currently, around 8,000 private vans ferry around Rs 15,000 crore daily between banks, currency chests and ATMs across the country. An additional sum of Rs 5,000 crore is held up overnight by the private security agencies in their private cash vaults on behalf of the banks. The SoPs have been prepared after a spurt in attacks, hijacking and looting of cash vans which are seen as soft targets.
These SOPs have been sent to the Law Ministry for a detailed vetting and once they are approved, the guidelines will be issued to all state governments for implementation, the official said. The government has asked all the state controlling authorities for Private Security Agencies Regulation Act to enforce the above guidelines on all cash van agencies and review the compliance from time to time.
Such vans must have two independent compartments, with the one for storing cash to be separated and locked from the passenger compartment and the cash compartment being especially reinforced with steel and with one door which can be opened internally through a manual or electronic lock, another official said.
Every cash van must have the following minimum staff on board for every single cash transportation service — one driver, two armed security guards and two ATM Officer or custodians, according to the guidelines Cash van must always be escorted by two trained armed security guard on board.