A “Not Working” sign is displayed outside automated teller machines (ATM) operated by Union Bank of India Ltd. in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Parliamentary Panel Asks RBI To Fix Dry ATM Problem

A parliamentary panel asked the Reserve Bank of India to address the problem of perpetually dysfunctional ATMs so as to avoid any situation of forced cash crunch.

The Standing Committee on Finance also asked the banks to install adequate number of ATMs. The panel tabled its report in Parliament last week.

As per RBI’s data, there were 2,21,492 automated teller machines in the country as of September-end 2018.

These include 1,43,844 ATMs of public sector banks, 59,645 ATMs of private banks and 18,003 of foreign banks, payments banks, small fiance banks and white label ATMs, which are owned and operated by non-bank entities.

“As digital transactions have not become anywhere near universal, the committee would urge upon the RBI to pursue the lingering problem of dysfunctionality as well as shortage of ATMs vigorously with banks, while ensuring the economic viability of ATMs for all stakeholders, so that a forced cash crunch is not imposed on the public,” the report said.

The panel headed by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily also noted that the RBI’s remonetisation drive has not augmented or resolved the cash supply to ATMs in rural or semi-urban areas, forcing shutdown of many ATMs.

The committee has expressed concern that “there are just not enough” ATMs being installed or added to cater to the rising demand for cash in an expanding economy, even as more and more debit cards are being issued and large number of Jan Dhan accounts opened by banks.

ATMs have become an important channel for withdrawing money even after the close of banking hours. Digital transactions are also catching up.

Besides ATMs, basic banking services are provided by business correspondents through their micro ATMs.

Bloomberg Quint

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