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NO CASH in ATMs? What’s Behind Sudden ‘run’ on Banks?

It is more than 18 months since the whole country’s citizens were paraded on the streets by the Demonetisation 2016 and the days are here again with No Cash board greeting on ATMs, especially in non-BJP ruled states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal. Karnataka facing elections next month has been partly spared from the cash crunch.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday questioned whether a "financial emergency" was subtly imposed in the country. "Seeing reports of ATMs running out of cash in several states. Big notes missing. Reminder of #DeMonetisation days. Is there a Financial Emergency going on in the country? #CashCrunch #CashlessATMs," Banerjee tweeted.

Even BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and coalition government in Bihar have reported cash crunch on Monday but Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley categorically denied the reports of any cash crunch. "There is more than adequate currency in circulation," he reiterated, saying RBI figures show that Rs 18.17 lakh crore was in circulation.

Severe cash crunch was faced in India following Nov. 8 ban on high-value currency notes. Almost the entire country was seen in big queues before the banks, and the sordid saga continued at a stretch for 15 days.

However, this time, reports say that the cash crunch was a knee-jerk reaction to the latest Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, being tabled in parliament. Rumours are widespread that it affects deposits if a bank goes bankrupt, though government has clarified that it is not the case.

In some states, this has led to a run on banks from where people are withdrawing deposits and collecting cash, especially, in Rs.2000 notes so as to hoard it easily at home.

Already huge bank defaults in Punjab National Bank, ICICI bank scam, and evasion of thousands of crores by big business magnates are making round every day in the country, leading to loss of people’s faith in the banking system. As of March 2018, bank deposits grew at 6.7 percent compared to 15.3 percent in 2016-17.

Opposition has described it as a "deliberate move” of the government. “News reports say that ATMs around the country are running of out of cash. Is it just gross mismanagement by the Modi Govt or is this a deliberate move? The people of the country forced to suffer even after 1.5 years of demonetisation show the acute failure of BJP government,” tweeted Congress.

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