Salaries of those working in the organised sector were credited to their bank accounts on Wednesday and Thursday, but the account holders couldn’t get money in their hands. Banks reported shortage of cash as currency supply did not improve even after requests to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for more cash.
However, despite this, queues outside banks and ATMs did not worsen as people avoided visiting these places after learning from others that there was no cash available.
Salaries of government employees were also credited to their bank accounts on Thursday. “We cannot stand in queues during office hours and there is no point in visiting ATMs as most of them do not have cash,” said a peon at the Mini-Secretariat in Gurgaon.
Residents said they can manage food, rent, and shopping expenses through online or card transactions, but cash is required for payments to milk and vegetable vendors, domestic helps, newspaper delivery persons, etc.
“I have been managing without cash since demonetisation was announced. But now, the domestic help, laundryman and milkman are demanding to be paid only in cash as they do not have bank accounts,” said Soham Gupta, a web developer. Gupta had come to withdraw cash from his bank branch in Sector 45, but was told there was no cash available since Wednesday morning.
Bank officials are also concerned about pensioners who are expected to line up at banks for cash withdrawal as soon as pensions are credited to their accounts.
“Pensioners comprise a large section of the senior citizens who depend on cash and are not well versed with digital transactions. Banks will have a tough time handling their demands,” said lead district manager, Ramesh Chandra Nayak.
“Banks demanded additional cash at their own level. There was a requirement of ₹2,000 crore per day, which is expected to double to meet the demand of cash from salaried persons,” he added.
Bank officials said they were also expecting a rush to withdraw money when salaries of industrial and construction employees are credited. Salaries in these sectors are paid by the seventh of every month.
They are also expecting more pressure as accounts of construction workers and workers from the unorganised sector are being opened for their salaries will be credited into.
Since November 26, banks have held 468 camps at industrial areas where 6,607 applications were received and 3,487 new bank accounts were opened. Nayak said that banks are also opening Jan Dhan accounts for workers who do not have all the documents required for opening a savings account.