Nearly 50% ATMs may be permanently closed by March 2019

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Around 50 per cent of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the country will be closed by the end of March 2019 due to unavailability of operations, suggested the Confederation of ATM Industry (CATMi). The Confederation on Wednesday further stressed that the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana will suffer after this move while it also said that long queues and chaos outside ATMs, which was witnessed post-demonetisation, will return due to the shortage of ATMs.

A CATMi spokesperson said that there are over 2,38,000 ATMs in India out of which nearly 1,13,000 ATMs are expected to shut down by March of next year. Out of the 1,13,000 machines, 1,00,000 are off-site while the rest of them are white label ATMs. He further added that this would severely impact millions of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana beneficiaries in the country who withdraw their subsidies from ATMs.

The spokesperson continued saying that the after effects of the closure of ATMs at such large scale will bring back the snaky queues and chaos in urban regions which was witnessed during the demonetisation.

It is also being suspected that if this move comes into effect by the given time, it will lead to massive job losses in the industry. The job loss of such magnitude will prove to be detrimental to financial services in the economy as a whole.

According to the spokesperson, the CATMi has to shut down the ATMs due to recent mandates on cash management standards, the Cassette Swap method of loading cash and recent regulatory guidelines for ATMs hardware and software upgrades.

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