Cash Crunch

ATMs run dry in many states, Arun Jaitley says problem due to excess cash in other areas

The Congress asked if it was a result of gross mismanagement or a deliberate ploy by the Centre.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday allayed fears of a cash crunch as ATMs continued to run dry in several states. He said that the “temporary” cash crush was the result of “sudden and unusual increase” in cash in some parts of the country.

“We have reviewed the currency situation in the country. Overall there is more than adequate currency in circulation, and also available with the banks,” said the finance minister. People from Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana have said that ATMs in their areas either do not have cash or are not functioning, NDTV reported.

Minister of State for Finance SP Shukla said that currency worth Rs 1.25 lakh crore was in circulation in the country. He said the government and the Reserve Bank of India had formed committees to transfer excess currency from one state to another. “It will be done in two to three days,” Shukla added.

On Tuesday, the Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) criticised the Centre for the cash crunch. The Congress asked on Twitter if the crunch was due to mismanagement or a deliberate act on the part of the government. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury compared the lack of money at ATMs to the situation immediately following demonetisation in November 2016.

On Monday, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had claimed that Rs 2,000 notes were missing from the market, and that there was a “conspiracy” behind this. “Currency worth Rs 15,00,000 crore was in circulation before demonetisation,” Chouhan said at a farmers’ meeting in Shajapur. “After this exercise, the currency in circulation increased to Rs 16,50,000 crore. But notes of Rs 2,000 are missing from the market.” He said he had taken up the matter with the Centre.

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