ATMs are out of cash or not working, people have reported from several states, including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Telangana. People in Delhi have also been tweeting about not getting cash at ATMs, in a reminder of long queues and non-functioning machines after demonetization in November 2016.
In Hyderabad, news agency ANI quoted people as saying they had been unable to withdraw cash since yesterday. There are similar reports from Varanasi.
People in Hyderabad say, 'We have been unable to withdraw cash from ATMs as the kiosks (ATM Kiosk), in several parts of the city, have run out of cash. We have visited several ATMs since yesterday but it is the situation everywhere'.
People in Varanasi say, 'We do not know what or where the problem is but the common man is facing difficulty as the ATM Kiosks are not dispensing cash. We have visited 5-6 ATMs since morning. We need to pay for the admission of children and purchase groceries & vegetables'.
Reports suggest officials of the finance ministry have held a meeting with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last Thursday, to take stock of the situation.
Sources have told NDTV that RBI has directed banks with surplus cash to help other banks facing a shortage of funds. There is a mismatch of demand and supply of cash, say sources. The transactions at ATMs have also gone up; earlier it was Rs. 3000 on an average, now it's Rs. 5000 say sources.
SP Shukla, Union Minister of State for Finance, told ANI: “We have cash currency of Rs 1,25,000 crore right now. There is one problem that some states have less currency and others have more. The government has formed a state-wise committee and RBI also formed a committee to transfer currency from one state to other. It will be done in three days:
Earlier, finance ministry officials had reportedly met with the RBI officials to take stock of the situation.
ABP news today reported RBI sources as saying that the cash crunch has been effected by spike in demand of currency notes during the ongoing festival season.
RBI data in February this year had shown that the currency in circulation in the country was at 99% of pre-demonetisation level. The total currency in circulation stood at Rs 17.78 trillion on 16 February, 2018. Before demonetisation, the total currency in circulation was Rs 17.97 trillion.
Reports of cash crunch at ATMs have brought back memories of November 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a midnight announcement said old notes will be scrapped. CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury took a potshot at the government, he tweeted ATMs are dry but "only party flush with cash is the BJP."
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has alleged a conspiracy behind Rs. 2,000 notes vanishing from the market.
Addressing a farmers' convention, Mr Chouhan said on Monday, "The currency worth Rs. 15,00,000 crore was in circulation before demonetisation. After the demonitisation exercise, the currency in circulation increased to Rs. 16,50,000 crore. But notes of Rs. 2,000 are missing from the market."
He was referring to news reports of ATMs running out of cash at some parts of the state.
"Where are these notes of Rs. 2,000 denomination going? Who is 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 said.
Mr Chouhan added he had raised the problem with the Centre.
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.
In another tweet, the Congress said, “The people of the country forced to suffer even after 1.5 years of demonetisation show the acute failure of BJP government.”