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Government, RBI ask banks to boost ATM cash supply

Times of India:  January, 2017

New Delhi: The government and the RBI have asked banks to make ATMs fully functional and have said that more cash should be diverted to vending machines and rural areas.

Almost two months since the demonetization decision of November 8, and despite currency presses working overtime, ATMs across the country continue to run dry in quick time or remain shuttered. Complaints of lack of cash in ATMs have poured in from across the country.

"Banks have been asked to divert more cash to ATMs and also ensure adequate supplies of funds in rural and far-flung areas," said an official, who did not wish to be named. "From next week onwards you will see a sharp improvement in the situation at ATMs. Availability of cash at ATMs has improved significantly in the past few days," the official said. He said that over 66% of the country's 2.12 lakh ATMs have been fully functional which means that they are dispensing cash. "The next focus is to ensure that 100% of the ATMs have cash throughout and are fully functional," the official said, adding that he expects all the ATMs to function fully by the end of the month or early February.

The official said that cash supplies from printing presses have also been stepped up and the availability of Rs 500 notes has improved. A large chunk of the ATMs has been starved of cash as banks have been focusing on dispensing currencies to customers at branches. The official said the daily limit on cash withdrawals at ATMs and the weekly limit is likely to be eased by end January or middle of February. "We are reviewing the situation constantly and will decide on easing the limits shortly," he said.