India’s largest lender SBI said today that cash availability at its ATMs has increased in the past 24 hours following reports of currency shortages and ATMs running dry from different parts of the country. Several other lenders, including PNB, Canara Bank and Axis Bank claimed that cash shortage at ATMs was limited to select pockets.
Unusual spurt in demand for currency led to many ATMs and banks running out of cash in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, poll-bound Karnataka and some other states even as the government and the RBI assured the public that there was no currency shortage. “Availability of cash in SBI ATM has improved in the last 24 hours. Efforts are being made on a continuous basis to improve the cash availability further in a few geographies. Overall issue of less cash should come to normalcy within soonest possible time, ” said Neeraj Vyas, DMD (Chief Operating Officer), SBI.
In a statement by SBI, he further said that the bank is constantly monitoring the situation and making immense efforts to ensure the supply of currency in abundance at all our ATMs. A SBI spokesperson said that in general, the normalcy rates at the bank’s ATMs remains at 92 per cent. “It had dropped to around 85 per cent yesterday. But the situation has improved today.”
When asked about its ATMs, private sector Axis Bank said it has enough cash, which is “better than the industry average and there is no such crisis”. “Even if there are cases of ATMs running out of money it is because people from other banks are coming to withdraw money,” a Axis Bank official said.
The Reserve Bank had said last evening that there was no shortage of currency even as it has ramped up printing of notes at all its four presses. The finance ministry too had said printing of Rs 500 notes was being increased five-fold.
When contacted, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India and Canara Bank claimed that shortage of cash at their ATMs was limited to some pockets only and they are dealing with the situation.