Task force constituted to speed up cash distribution


New Delhi: The government on Monday said it has constituted a task force to speed up the re-calibration of ATM machines and increase the disbursement of cash through various other channels.

The decision in this regard was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das told media persons on Monday morning.

Das elaborated that the task force, headed by a Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), will keep a real-time watch and monitor the distribution of cash through various channels and take necessary action in a timely manner.

Later in the day, the RBI said the task force constituted to hasten the re-calibration of ATM machines to dispense new series of high denomination currency notes will comprise of representatives from various government ministries.

It will also have members from SBI (State Bank of India), Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank — the four banks with the largest ATM networks in the country.

“A representative each of ATM OEMs, managed service providers, CIT (cash-in-transit) companies and WLA (white label ATMs) operators will be invited to the deliberations of the Task Force,” the apex bank was quoted as saying in a statement.

There are over 200,000 ATMs in the country. Apart from setting up of the task force, the government has also decided to enhance the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs to Rs 2,500 from the earlier Rs 2,000.

However, ATMs are unable to meet the high demand of cash in the lower denomination of Rs 100 or the new high-value currency notes.

The ATM machines need to be reconfigured to dispense the new higher denomination notes because of their size being different from the phased-out currency.

Currently, banks have been replenishing ATMs with Rs 100 notes. However, with capacity constraint of ATMs that can carry only about 2,500 notes of Rs 100 denomination, the machines run out of cash after serving 125 persons on average.

State-owned SBI has said that it will try and re-calibrate by Monday night 1,000 of its ATMs to dispense Rs 2,000 currency notes.

On November 12, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the re-calibration process of ATMs for dispensing new design currency notes will take two to three weeks, since the present machines are designed to dispense only Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.


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