ATMs dry-RBI denies cash crunch


Amid reports of ATMs running dry and banks suffering from cash crunch too in various parts of the country, the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Tuesday announced to ramp up printing of Rs 500 notes by five times.

While the government attributed the problem to “sudden and unusual demand”, the RBI denied cash shortage and said it was taking steps to move currency to areas witnessing unusually large cash withdrawals as a matter of precaution.

Cities and towns across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, poll-bound Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar were reportedly impacted more by the cash crunch.

The Finance Ministry said the unusual spurt in currency demand was reported in the last three months. In the first 13 days of April, the currency supply increased by Rs 45,000 crore, whereas the normal level for a month is around Rs 20,000 crore.

The Opposition parties slammed the government for the “return of demonetisation days” with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi saying “terror of note ban” had again gripped the country. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee called it a “financial emergency” and CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said people were “suffering” because of BJP policies.

The RBI said the shortage may be felt in some pockets largely due to logistical issues of replenishing ATMs frequently and the recalibration of ATMs being still underway. “It is clarified at the outset that there is sufficient cash in the RBI vaults and currency chests. Nevertheless, printing of the notes has been ramped up in all four note presses,” it said.

Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg indicated that Rs 2,000 notes were being hoarded as these were not coming back into the circulation fast enough.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “There is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the banks. The temporary shortage caused by sudden and unusual increase (in demand) is being tackled quickly.


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