Individuals across the country are being greeted by “Out of cash” boards at ATMs, just as the economy was beginning to recover from demonetisation. A number of states have reported shortage of cash in ATMs, with the situation creating panic among certain sections of the society.
Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra are the worst affected, with little or no cash in ATMs since the start of April. Bankers have attributed this shortage to the start of a new fiscal, with things expected to return to normalcy over the next few days.
With the RBI removing the sanctions on withdrawals from bank accounts, a number of banks have been keeping money at banks, choosing to cater customers visiting the branch rather than those trying to withdraw money through ATMs.
Many customers complained that ATMs which were working had only Rs.2,000 notes, with no smaller denominations available.
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are the worst hit, with limited cash resources available. Other states are facing shortage of around 30 per cent.
RBI data indicates that the total currency in use was Rs.1,25.09 crore as of March this year, up from Rs.1,16.17 crore last March. Despite this increase in total currency, the amount with the public has reduced by over 17 per cent, with just Rs.12.13 lakh crore in circulation this year, as against Rs.15.97 lakh crore last year.
The country witnessed huge queues outside ATMs following demonetisation in November, as there was a shortage of new currency notes. While digitisation has increased in the period following demonetisation, a large section of the society continues to be dependent on cash for their daily needs.
Demonetisation saw the withdrawal of 86.9 per cent of the total currency in circulation.