Banks resort to cash rationing amid shortage; ATMs run dry

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Opening after a day’s break, banks continued to grapple with currency shortage forcing many branches to resort to cash rationing to meet customers’ demand today as many recalibrated ATMs ran dry.

Customers started lining up outside branches since wee hours at many places to withdraw their salaries for paying monthly bills and meeting other requirements.

Much to their dismay, branches were able to offer only part of their requirement citing cash shortage.
cash rationing

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Despite recalibration of over 90 per cent of 2.2 lakh ATMs across the country, cash vending machines are still running out of cash nearly a month after demonetisation.

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According to bankers, the salary rush would continue for another 7-10 days.

Salary and pension rush would be there for the next 5-7 days, SBI Managing Director Rajnish Kumar said, adding that rationing at branch level is being done to cater to cash needs of the larger number of customers.

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Some banks are disbursing only Rs 2,000 per person while those having better cash availability are offering Rs 10,000-12,000 per withdrawal against specified limit of Rs 24,000, bank officials said.

Many banks made ‘SOS calls’ to RBI for additional cash for the first week of December to meet the initial rush of people, already fatigued standing in queues to exchange/deposit old notes and make limited withdrawals over the past three weeks after the demonetisation was announced on November 8.

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Meanwhile, bank unions are demanding that RBI should take steps to supply adequate cash to all banks and details of notes supplied to banks “should be announced publicly by RBI on a daily basis”.

All ATMs should be made functional immediately and protection should be given to bank employees and officers from the public pressure, they suggested.

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