New Delhi, Dec 30: It has been 51 days since the decision on demonetisation and today is the last day that people can exchange their demonetised currency at banks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought 50 days time to ease the situation, but the question is whether things are any better?
The problems at ATMs still continue. Most ATMs are still not dispensing the Rs 500 note as yet and this has led to a change crunch with people holding currency of the higher denomination.
There continues to be an acute shortage of currency in the ATMs. While most of the ATMs have been dispensing cash, the problem is that it does not function 24/7. The value of currency being routed through the ATM network is also low. The cash withdrawal limits remain. While the withdrawal limit is Rs 2,500 from an ATM, most ATMs dispense only Rs 2,000 and this is due to the non-availability of the 500 notes.
The ATM nightmare:
Although there has been a marked improvement in the functioning of the ATMs it is not consistent. The currency notes being filled into ATMs continues to be negligible and this has only ensured that these machines do not work all the time.
Out of the total 220,000 ATMs in the country, 60 per cent are outsourced. A look at this statistic would give a fair idea of how grave the problem is. The CMS Infosystems which manages around 55,000 ATMs has seen a drop in the number of visits to the ATMs. Prior to the decision on demonetisation CMS would visit nearly 30,000 ATMs on a daily basis. However post the decision the number of visits have dropped down to anything between 11,000 and 13,000 ATM visits per day.
The drop in the number of visits is due to the cash crunch. The number of visits depends on the cash availability. Most ATMs do not have the Rs 500 notes. A majority of the ATMs have been dispensing only the Rs 2,000 notes and due to this many times there are no queues outside the banks. What do we do with the Rs 2,000 note asked one customer. None are willing to give us change, he also says.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at the dawn of the New Year. It is not clear what he would be speaking about. Some say he will take up the issue of demonetisation. After all he is the one who had sought for 50 days time. That deadline has ended and problem persists.