New Delhi: Banks are bracing up to face a huge rush in the coming days as people will queue up at branches across the country to withdraw salaries with a large number of ATMs remaining dry even 21 days after the demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
People are likely to throng at bank branches on December 1 as central and state governments credit salaries and pensions to millions of accounts. At the central level alone, there are around 50 lakh employees and 58 lakh pensioners.
Bankers said the government’s move last week to provide Rs. 10,000 in advance to non-gazetted staff may provide only a slight relief. Given cash shortages with banks, and ATMs running dry, bankers fear a surge in rush.
Many banks have made ‘SOS calls’ to the Reserve Bank for additional cash for the first few days of December to meet the initial rush of people, already fatigued standing in unending queues to exchange/deposit old notes and make limited withdrawals over the past three weeks after the demonetisation was announced on November 8.
Banks have to make additional arrangement including security deployment, said a senior banker of Canara Bank. Many of them are contemplating to set up additional counters for withdrawal to meet the rush.
Despite recalibration of nearly 70 per cent of ATMs do not have cash, while people are struggling with the problem of change as the operational ones dispense mostly high denomination Rs. 2,000 notes.
Nearly 21 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced cancellation of legal tender of old Rs. 500/1000 currency notes, small traders, truckers and construction workers are facing hardships in going about their business. Due to sowing of rabi crop, the focus of the government has now shifted to rural areas, which means urban centres are feeling the cash squeeze.
RBI Governor Urjit Patel had earlier said that the central bank is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and taking all necessary actions to “ease the genuine pain of citizens” with a clear intent to normalise the things as early as possible.