NEW DELHI: Cash at ATMs may not be available 24x7, if the government’s proposed move to restrict replenishment of cash after 8 PM is implemented. The move is aimed at securing cash-carrying vans operated by private security agencies from being attacked and looted.
The Home Ministry has proposed a deadline of 5 PM for rural areas and 3 PM for Naxal-affected areas, for the private agencies to load the cash in the ATMs.
If all the cash in an ATM is withdrawn after the proposed deadlines in the urban, rural and Naxal-affected areas, the customers would have to wait for next day to withdraw money.
The move is defeating the purpose to provide customers freedom to withdraw cash anywhere anytime at any ATM. About 8,000 private vans ferry around Rs 15,000 crore daily between banks, currency chests and ATMs across the country, according to the Home Ministry data. The private security agencies hold additional Rs 5,000 crore overnight in their private cash vaults on behalf of the banks. Further, the new norms require all cash transportation and loading at ATMs to be undertaken by staff with antecedent check.
The vans should be escorted by two trained and armed security guards. The vehicle should have two independent compartments - for storing cash and for the passengers. The cash compartment should be reinforced with steel and a door that can be opened internally using electronic or manual lock.
The new guidelines stipulate that the cash vans should be fitted with closed circuit television cameras and GPS and must not carry more than Rs 5 crore per trip. The agencies operating cash vans are governed by the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act 2005.
The State governments have been advised to enforce the guidelines for all agencies providing cash van services and also review them on a regular basis.
■ Cash vans should be escorted by 2 trained and armed security guards
■ The vehicle should have two independent compartments – for storing cash and for the passengers
■ The cash vans should be fitted with closed circuit television cameras and GPS and must not carry over Rs 5 crore per trip