Many ATM machines across the country are said to be either out of cash or not working which is causing great inconvenience to people.
The exact reason behind non-functioning of ATMs is not clear, but reports suggest two possible reasons.
Most ATMs could be shut due to the re-calibration process to accommodate newly issued Rs 200 notes. As of 4 January 2017, the Reserve Bank of India has ordered banks to re-calibrate all 2.2 lakh ATMs across the country to ensure the dispensation of the new, yellow Rs 200 notes. Although the notes were introduced in August 2017, the new Rs 200 notes are available only through cash counters of the banks and not ATMs.
Another reason, which is purely a speculation, is that it could be part of a push for digital transactions. It is interesting to note that 1,782 ATMs across the country were shut down between May and November 2017. Reports also suggest that there is a decline in the supply of currency from the RBI.
The cash crunch could also be due to the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, which has created confusion among people during the last couple of months. Many depositors started withdrawing their FDs and other deposits, following rumours that the day was not far-off when the government could start meddling with their deposits.
Even after demonetisation in November 2016, banks went through a complete overhaul of all ATMs, having had to recalibrate the trays which hold and dispense notes inside the machine to fit the new dimensions of the Rs 500 and Rs 2000 note. This resulted in serpentine queues outside banks and ATMs.