India is still facing a cash crisis more than five months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued sudden currency reforms.
Despite intermittent measures at shoring up cash supplies, the central bank has failed to keep up with demand for new banknotes. This is leading to dry banks and ATMs affecting millions of consumers.
In focus are the new edition of the 500 rupee note and the newly-minted 2000 rupees, both of which are currently virtually nonexistent in the country’s southern regions of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, the Times of India reports.
"Nearly 70 percent of our 648 ATMs in the three districts are out of cash,” the State Bank of India (SBI) deputy general manager Ajoy Kumar Pandit told the publication.
“The rest will also become dry in the next few days as we do not have cash to refill the machines. We are helpless from our side.”
An unofficial explanation stated that due to the recent elections, funds had been diverted to North India, leaving little left over for day-to-day operations elsewhere.
Yet another kink in the government’s remonetization pipeline is just the latest to befall Indians since November. Mixed messages regarding the printing of banknotes and warnings over the increasingly popular use of cryptocurrency compounded confusion over how to transact daily while retaining peace of mind.
The Secretary of Economic Affairs Shaktikanta Das tweeted in February that there was “enough cash” to meet demand.
Last week, an enforcement officer with the National Narcotics Agency was remanded in custody for his part in unlawfully accessing seized wallets containing up to 470 Bitcoins left over from a drug bust in 2015.