Come next year, the Centre’s Narendra Modi government will stop refilling the ATMs in cities after 9 pm. The same restriction will kick in from 6 pm in rural areas, while in Naxal-hit region, ATMs will not be replenished from after 4 pm.
A circular by the home ministry said that private cash handling agencies ought to collect money from the banks in the first half of the day and transport notes only in armoured vehicles.
The new Standard Operating Procedures, according to a report by news agency PTI, would come into effect from 8 February, 2019 in view of the increase in incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM frauds and other internal frauds leading to increased sense of insecurity.
There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans plying across the country, operated by non-bank private agencies, and they handle over Rs 15,000 crore daily on behalf of banks, added the PTI report.
The home ministry notification read, “No cash loading of the ATMs or cash transportation activities shall be done after 9 pm in urban areas, after 6 pm in rural areas and before 9 am or after 4 pm in the districts notified by the central government as Left Wing Extremism affected areas.”
The news has already evoked angry reactions from consumers, many of whom called the move nonsensical. Twitter user Nirmal Choudhary wrote, “What foolishness is this who takes such decisions.for god sake some one tell them they are running a country not a company or home.” Another user, identified as Bigg Boss, tweeted, “Why having ATMs and banks. People will not be having any money if the great Modi rules India for another 5 years.”
Consumers, who faced similar experience during the period immediately after the note ban announcement, are worried that the move by the central government may lead to another spate of cash crunch as was witnessed after 8 November 2016.