The closure of half of the 2.38 lakh machines in the country by March 2019 may affect millions of bank account holders under Modi government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme, who withdraw subsidies in form of cash through ATMs, the apex body of the domestic ATM industry said. The shutdown may also lead to a chaos similar to what was witnessed when ATMs were not dispensing cash after demonetisation, Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi) added.
On Wednesday, CATMi had said in a statement that the service providers may be forced to shut down nearly 1.13 lakh ATMs pan-India by early next year on account of high operating charges. These numbers include approximately one lakh off-site ATMs and a little over 15,000 white label ATMs.
“The forced closure is on account of unviability of operations brought about by recent regulatory guidelines for ATMs hardware and software upgrades, recent mandates on cash management standards and the Cassette Swap method of loading cash,” it said.
However, the government-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) has denied such plans. “PNB would like to clarify that it has no major plans to reduce ATMs by March 31 2019”, PTI reported citing a statement by the bank.
PNB also said that it has already begun with the process of implementation of the security measures on its ATMs. There is no plan to increase various charges related to ATM usage, it added. The public sector bank is one of the largest ATM service providers in the country with 9,428 ATMs.