The Confederation of ATM Industry, the apex body of the domestic ATM industry, on Monday said that nearly 50 percent of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) may be shut down by March 2019 because of unviability of operations.
50% account for almost 1.13 lakh AMTs across the country. These include approximately one lakh off-site ATMs and a little over 15,000 white label ATMs. Presently, approximately 2.38 lakh ATMs operate India.
“A large number of ATMs in non-urban locations may be shut down due to unviability of operations. If this happens, the financial inclusion programme would be severely impacted as millions of beneficiaries under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) scheme, who withdraw subsidies in form of cash through ATMs, may find their neighborhood ATM shut,” a statement from CATMI said.
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According to the industry body, the recent regulatory changes like mandates on cash management standards and the cassette swap method of loading cash, paired with diktat for upgradation of the software will make ATM operations unviable, resulting in the closure.
In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Union Ministry of Home Affairs imposed guidelines for ATMs service providers or their contractors followed. Some of these included, a minimum net worth requirement of Rs. 100 crore, minimum fleet size of 300 fully-equipped cash vans, two custodians and two armed guards plus a driver, software upgradation and much more.