New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take adequate measures to improve perpetually dysfunctional automated teller machines (ATMs) in the country, while also ensuring that there is an adequate number of working ATMs in the country in order to evade a circumstance of a cash crunch. Till September last year, there were 2,21,492 ATMs in India, according to data collected by the RBI. Out of which, 1,43,844 ATMs were public sector banks, 59,645 were private banks and 18,003 were foreign banks, payments banks, small finance banks and White Label ATMs (WLAs), which are owned and operated by non-bank entities.
“As digital transactions have not become anywhere near universal, the committee would urge upon RBI to pursue the lingering problem of dysfunctionality as well as shortage of ATMs vigorously with banks, while ensuring the economic viability of ATMs for all stakeholders, so that a forced cash crunch is not imposed on the public,” the report said.
The panel, led by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, also observed that the government’s remonetisation drive has not resolved the cash supply to ATMs in rural or semi-urban areas, leading to the shutdown of many ATMs. The panel added that “there are just not enough” ATMs being added to provide to the growing need for cash in the country.