Bringing back the memories of cash crunch pangs due to demonetisation in November 2016, ATMs in many states have gone dry, say reports. ANI on Tuesday reported people as saying in Bhopal that they have been facing cash crunch for the last 15 days as the ATMs are not dispensing currency notes.
“We are facing a cash crunch. ATMs are not dispensing cash. The situation has been the same since 15 days. We have visited several ATMs today as well, to no avail,” the agency quoted people as saying. Similar reports have come from other cities in several states.
In Varanasi, people said they are facing difficulty as the ATMs are not dispensing cash. But they do not know why it is happening. In Hyderabad, office goers said they have been unable to withdraw cash at many ATM kiosks in several parts of the city.
The cash crunch has been reported in several states including poll-bound Karnataka and Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh. In Delhi also, people are tweeting about cash crunch at many ATMs of the Capital.
What the government says
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley tweeted, “Have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. The temporary shortage caused by ‘sudden and unusual increase’ in some areas is being tackled quickly.”
Have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. The temporary shortage caused by ‘sudden and unusual increase’ in some areas is being tackled quickly.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) April 17, 2018
SP Shukla, Union Minister of State for Finance, told ANI: “We have cash currency of Rs 1,25,000 crore right now. There is one problem that some states have less currency and others have more. The government has formed a state-wise committee and RBI also formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to other. It will be done in three days.”
Union Ministry of Finance said in a release: “There has been unusual spurt in currency demand in the country in last three months. In the current month, in the first 13 days itself, the currency supply increased by Rs.45000 crores. This unusual spurt in demand is seen more in some parts of the country like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, MP and Bihar.”
“The Government would like to assure all the people that there have been adequate supply of currency notes which have met entire demand so far. The government would also like to assure that it would be supplying adequate currency notes to meet even higher levels of demand if such demand were to continue in the coming days/months,” it added.
The Government is taking all steps to ensure that ATMs are supplied with cash and to get non-functional ATMs normalised at the earliest.
Earlier, finance ministry officials had reportedly met with the RBI officials to take stock of the situation.
ABP news today reported RBI sources as saying that the cash crunch has been effected by spike in demand of currency notes during the ongoing festival season.
RBI data in February this year had shown that the currency in circulation in the country was at 99% of pre-demonetisation level. The total currency in circulation stood at Rs 17.78 trillion on 16 February, 2018. Before demonetisation, the total currency in circulation was Rs 17.97 trillion.
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has alleged a “conspiracy” behind the disappearance of Rs 2000 currency notes. At a farmers’ convention on Monday, the chief minister said that Rs 2000 currency notes are missing from the market even as the notes in circulation are more than pre-demonetisation.
“The currency worth Rs 15,00,000 crore was in circulation before demonetisation. After this exercise (demonetisation), the currency in circulation increased to Rs 16,50,000 crore. But notes of Rs 2,000 are missing from the market,” Chouhan was quoted as saying by PTI.
“Where these notes of Rs 2,000 denomination are going, who are keeping them out of circulation? Who are the persons creating shortfall of cash? This is a conspiracy to create problems. The government will act tough on this,” he added.
What the opposition say
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has asked if the cash crunch has taken place because of “deliberate move” of the government. “News reports say that ATMs around the country are running of out cash. Is it just gross mismanagement by the Modi Govt or is this a deliberate move?” the party tweeted from its official handle.
News reports say that ATMs around the country are running of out cash. Is it just gross mismanagement by the Modi Govt or is this a deliberate move? #IndiaSpeaks
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 17, 2018
In another tweet, the Congress said, “The people of the country forced to suffer even after 1.5 years of demonetisation show the acute failure of BJP government.”