Coronavirus Outbreak: No dearth of cash, prepared to meet any demand during nationwide lockdown, say bankers

Banks have enough cash to meet any demand in view of nationwide lockdown and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) commitments under Rs 1.7 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana package

Press Trust of India April 14, 2020 11:56:36 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: No dearth of cash, prepared to meet any demand during nationwide lockdown, say bankers

New Delhi: Banks have enough cash to meet any demand in view of nationwide lockdown and Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) commitments under Rs 1.7 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana package.

There is absolutely no dearth of cash and demands are being met on an immediate basis, bankers said.

Clear instructions were given in this regard by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a virtual meeting with heads of both public and private sector banks on 28 March, a Finance Ministry official said.

Coronavirus Outbreak No dearth of cash prepared to meet any demand during nationwide lockdown say bankers

Representational image. Reuters.

She had asked heads of banks to make sure there was adequate money in ATMs, branches and with banking correspondents, the official said.

Anticipating spurt in demand due to salary withdrawal and DBT transfer, banks enhanced their cash holding limit upto three times than the usual with the permission of RBI, bankers said.

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However, demand for cash has almost peaked and it is getting normal now, said a senior official of Bank of Maharashtra.

According to a senior official of Punjab National Bank, the bank had to stock nearly three times of daily demand for the initial two weeks as the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank of India were merged leading to an increase in customers base.

Besides, the official said, there were events like salary day and DBT transfer under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.

Now, the demand has stabilised but the bank is prepared to meet any spurt.

A senior official of Union Bank of India said the bank was keeping more than double of daily demand to meet cash withdrawal pressure from various outlets, including banking correspondents.

Over 2 lakh ATMs alone require about Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore per day during the lockdown period, said an official from a private sector bank.

"The ATM channels of all the banks in India have daily cash availability of Rs 40,000 crore per day. The RBI has been very supportive and kind during this time and it has been providing with cash which is more than required," the official said.

There are nearly 2.25 lakh ATMs spread across the country and most of them were working barring a few exceptions.

Sources at HDFC Bank said whereas its ATMs used to have daily cash availability of roughly around Rs 2,000 crore across bank's 13,000 plus ATMs, it has been now maintaining cash worth Rs 3,000 crore per day at all its automated teller machines (ATMs).

"We have increased cash in our ATMs by around 45-50 percent (since the lockdown). In a normal situation, our ATMs used to have roughly around Rs 2,000 crore of cash everyday, now we are maintaining it at around Rs 3,000 crore everyday," the sources said.

The ATMs transactions per day have now increased to nearly Rs 400 crore, earlier it used to be around Rs 300-325 crore per day.

At the same time, cash logistics companies kept ATMs running by feeding the cash at regular intervals.

"We have received tremendous support from the government, which has helped us make more trips and ensure that ATMs don't run dry," said SIS Group managing director Rituraj Sinha.

As part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, Rs 9,930 crore was disbursed to women Jan Dhan account holders while Rs 1,405 crore were provided as ex-gratia to about 2.82 crore old-age person, widow and disabled person under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP).

Under PM-KISAN, Rs 14,946 crore has gone towards payment of the first installment of PM-KISAN. Under the scheme, nearly 7.47 crore out of 8 crore identified beneficiaries got Rs 2,000 directly in their account

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