After Bihar and Gujarat, news of a cash crunch has surfaced from several states across the country. People are facing difficulties withdrawing cash from ATMs in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stepped in on Tuesday morning to assuage people’s concerns. He tweeted, “Have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Over all there is more than adequate currency in circulation and also available with the Banks. The temporary shortage caused by ‘sudden and unusual increase’ in some areas is being tackled quickly.”
The Finance Ministry’s Department of Economic Affairs also issued a statement saying “Govt of India would like to assure that there have been adequate supply of currency notes which have met entire demand so far. It would also like to assure it would be supplying adequate currency notes to meet even higher demand in coming days/months. Govt is taking all steps to ensure that ATMs are supplied with cash and to get non-functional ATMs normalised at the earliest,” reported ANI News.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi slammed Prime Minister Modi. ANI News quoted Rahul saying “Modi Ji has destroyed the banking system. Nirav Modi fled with Rs 30,000 crore & PM didn't utter a word. We were forced to stand in queues as he snatched 500-1000 rupee notes from our pockets & put in Nirav Modi's pocket.”
Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal CM called it a “financial emergency”.
It remains to be seen whether the FM’s words will reassure worried citizens. Hyderabad resident Sadique told National Herald, “There is an ATM near to my house, I am unable to withdraw money from it. The only thing the ATM is useful for is giving out mini statements. I can say that this situation is prevailing since last one month.”
A private bank official, speaking anonymously, said, “We are not receiving sufficient money to serve customers both at the ATM and at the branch. In a situation like this, we first try to fulfil the customers who comes to the branch in order to do so we have to cut down the amount being filled in ATMs.”
According to a report in Kashmir, a man tried to damage a J&K Bank ATM due to non-availability of the cash but he was handed over to the police before he was able to do so. Locals later on protested against bank officials and accused them of putting the people to immense inconvenience by not keeping cash in ATMs for over a week.
In Bhopal, people are having a harrowing time in the scorching heat running from one ATM to another in search of money. Sandeep a contractor in Bhopal, reached New Market on Monday morning to withdraw cash from an ATM. He went around the whole market but was disappointed to find that all the ATMs had no cash. Only one State Bank of India ATM had cash, but the machine was dispensing only up to ₹5,000 and that too only in the form of ₹100 notes, he said. The guard sitting at the HDFC ATM told him cash would be available after noon.
One bank official said, “There is indeed a cash crisis but as and when people find cash, they withdraw more than they need, leading to further crisis.”
Another banker said, “For the past few days, many bank branches in Bhopal don’t receive enough cash to fill up the ATMs. People seem to be holding on to bigger currency notes like ₹2,000.”
People have been venting anger on social media.
With inputs by NH Web Desk and agencies.