ATMs across the country continued to battle cash crunch even 100 days after the demonetisation announcement with nearly 30% of the 2.2 lakh machines across India still running dry.
The Rs 12,000 crore cash pumped into the economy, which was lower than the Rs 13,000 crore provided before the note ban, proved to be inadequate to meet the demand for liquid cash.
Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) were facing more acute shortage, which according to the sources was an outcome of a substantial pile of cash being directed towards Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections are currently taking place.
Sources in the banking sector said the number of complaints about ATMs running dry in and around Delhi have increased in the last one week.
“One of the reasons (for cash crunch in Delhi) could be the UP state elections. We see no other reason that could have led to a cash shortage once again. Apart from Delhi-NCR, cash situation is more or less normal,” a senior executive of a private sector bank told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity.
However, a banking official played down the cash crunch development, stating, “There could be a gap in refilling off site ATMs outside banking hours.” The officer said the relaxation of the withdrawal limits might be a reason for the recent queues outside ATMs.
While the RBI has pumped in over Rs 10 lakh crore in new currency, it is still not enough to meet the requirement as Rs 15.44 lakh crore had been sucked out of the system after November 8.
A report by the SBI indicated that 78-88% of the total value of currency taken out of markets would be pumped back in only around February end.
“RBI must give clear figures on how much cash has been put back into the economy. The citizens have the right to know why cash crunch is continuing even after 100 days,” CH Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association said.