Demonetisation deja vu: Cash crunch hits multiple states as ATMs run dry

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 17, 2018 15:21 hrs

New Delhi: Reviving bitter memories of cash crunch pangs due to demonetisation in November 2016, ATMs in several states have gone dry, indicate reports. ANI on Tuesday quoted people as saying in Bhopal that they have been facing cash crunch for the last 15 days as the ATMs are not dispensing currency notes.

Read: Modiji destroyed the banking system, says Rahul

Other states, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Telangana, have also reported shortage of cash at ATMs. A stock-taking analysis submitted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) found that the rate of cash withdrawal was much higher than the rate of cash deposits in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana, among other states. Complaints of cash crunch have been reported from semi-urban and rural regions of the states.

The Centre on Tuesday admitted to the cash crunch and blamed it on uneven distribution of currency by the RBI across states.

“There is an issue of disparity. We have cash currency of Rs 1,25,000 crore right now. Some states have less currency and the others have more. Government has formed state-wise committee and RBI has also formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to the other. In two-three days, this problem will be resolved,” Minister of State in Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla told TV channels.

Earlier, finance ministry officials had reportedly met with the RBI officials to take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has asked if the cash crunch has taken place because of “deliberate move” of the government. “News reports say that ATMs around the country are running of out cash. Is it just gross mismanagement by the Modi Govt or is this a deliberate move?” the party tweeted from its official handle.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took note of the crisis and said on Twitter, "overall there is more than adequate currency in circulation...the temporary shortage is caused by sudden and unusual increase in some areas."

Even BJP's own CM, Madhya Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan, alleged a “conspiracy” behind the disappearance of Rs 2000 currency notes. At a farmers’ convention on Monday, the chief minister said that Rs 2000 currency notes are missing from the market even as the notes in circulation are more than pre-demonetisation.

“The currency worth Rs 15,00,000 crore was in circulation before demonetisation. After this exercise (demonetisation), the currency in circulation increased to Rs 16,50,000 crore. But notes of Rs 2,000 are missing from the market,” Chouhan was quoted as saying by PTI.

“Where these notes of Rs 2,000 denomination are going, who are keeping them out of circulation? Who are the persons creating shortfall of cash? This is a conspiracy to create problems. The government will act tough on this,” he added.

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