PM Narendra Modi’s dream of cashless economy gets a boost as banks shut 358 ATMs

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New Delhi | Published: October 28, 2017 4:42:26 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has been pushing India towards the cashless economy and one of the biggest steps by the Centre was the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on November 8, 2016.

PM Narendra Modi’s dream of cashless economy gets a boost as banks shut 358 ATMs. (Representational Image)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has been pushing India towards the cashless economy and one of the biggest steps by the Centre was the announcement of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes on November 8, 2016. During the period of two months after demonetisation was implemented, there was a serious shortage of cash in ATMs and many of the kiosks were also found shut last year. Moreover, between June and August 2017 there has been a decline in the number of ATMs. The number has gone down by 358, as per IB Times report. The reason cited is since demonetisation people have switched over to Paytm and other online payment platforms, due to which banks believe they could function with a lesser number of kiosks. Also, the maintenance for the ATMs is quite high especially in the metro cities, as per the report.

Notably, State Bank of India after merging with associate banks has shut down many ATMs. According to IB Times report, SBI has 59,291 ATMs in June which has come down to 59,200 by August. Similarly, Punjab National Bank reduced the number to 10,083 from 10,502 and HDFC Bank to 12,225 from 12,230. An SBI official told IB Times,”We had to decide whether the footfall at an ATM justified its running costs. Most of the ATMs we shut down were at places where another SBI parent or associate bank ATM was within a 500-metre radius. Our customers will not face much inconvenience because of this.”

However, much to the relief of people, not all the banks are planning to shut down their ATMs. Parthasarathi Mukherjee, CEO of Lakshmi Vilas Bank as per IB Times report said,”For further expansion, we would need to have sufficient volumes to justify the cost.”

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