Chennai/Agartala/Bengaluru/Kolkata: About half a million bank employees are going on strike on Wednesday as a marker of their protest against the centre’s economic and labour policies. This will result in an abrupt halt in banking and insurance operations in India as cheques will not be sent for clearance. This one day delay would cause a huge setback.
This protest will also include employees from public sector, old private sector, cooperative sector, and regional rural banks. However, employees of Indian Overseas Bank and State Bank of India are not taking part in this strike.
In addition to delays in cheque clearance, the refilling of currency notes at automatic teller machines (ATM) will also be affected.
“Across the country around 500,000 bankers – workers and officers – would be participating in the strike. Around 75,000 branches will not work tomorrow (Wednesday),” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIEBA) general secretary C.H.Venkatachalam told IANS.
Resounding with the problems faced by the workers, he said, “There are open attempts to amend labour laws in favour of the employers and to the detriment of the workers. The neo-liberal economic policies are only aggravating the problems of the workers and common masses.”
“More and more private capital and foreign direct investments are being encouraged. Private sector companies are being given licences to begin banking business,” he said.
He believes that the Regional Rural Banks are sought to be privatised. Despite the protests from employee unions, a bill has been passed in the parliament.
About 50,000 bank employees, including about 20,000 in Bengaluru are participating in the all-India shut down on Wednesday.
Upon asked whether they were apprehensive of the authorities going all out to break the strike, BEFI’s (Bank Employees Federation of India) Biswas said: “That we will see tomorrow. But I can tell you that we are prepared for all eventualities.”
He added that the unions in the sector are demanding early conclusion of wage negotiations, finalisation of promotion policy and scrapping of outsourcing, etc.
However, associations representing the officers in LIC and the four government-owned non-life insurers are not participating in the strike.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up
The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon
New Delhi, September 4, 2017: While the RBI launched the new Rs 200 notes a week ago, it may take up to three months for ATMs to start dispensing the new denomination currency “new Rs 200 note” as it will involve a huge exercise of recalibration.
What are ATM companies saying about when will the new Rs 200 notes come into the market?
Some banks have even asked the ATM companies to begin testing the new Rs 200 notes for recalibration of the machines, though they have not got supplies of the new Rs 200 notes/ currency. Only last year, the banks were involved in the recalibration of ATM machines after the demonetization of high-value currency notes in November.
ATM manufacturing companies said that they have not received any directive from the RBI regarding the recalibration of ATMs for the new Rs 200 note. They disclosed that some banks have at an informal level have asked them to start testing of the new note since it is of a different size.
When will the supply of the new Rs 200 notes see an increase?
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did issue a statement saying that the supply of the new Rs 200 notes would soon be ramped up but has not given any time-frame by which it will be available in adequate numbers.
It is yet to be seen whether all the 2.25 lakh ATM machines across India would be recalibrated for dispensing the new Rs 200 notes.
avi B Goyal, Chairman, and Managing Director, AGS Transact Technologies Limited, which claims to have an installed base of 60,000 ATMs, told IANS, “The process of recalibration will begin once we receive the directive from the RBI. The size of the new Rs 200 notes are different from the existing ones and so, once we receive the new Rs 200 notes, we will have to understand its dimensions and accordingly reconfigure the ATM cassettes. Next, we will have to check if the supply of new Rs 200 notes is good enough to run the cassettes at full capacity.”
“The entire process of recalibration can be completed within 90 days without affecting the regular functionality of ATMs to a large extent. In fact, the ATMs will continue to be fully operational during recalibration and will continue to supply Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denominations,” he said.
Among the other companies operating in the sector are NCR Corporation, which has over 1,08,000 machines, and BTI Payments, which has 4,500 cash dispensers. NCR Corporation said that while some banks have reached out to them to start testing of the new Rs 200 notes, they were yet to receive the supply to begin the process.
“Banks have started getting in touch with us for testing the same “new Rs 200 notes”. They will let us know which machines they wish to configure for new rs 200 notes, which will require physical visits to ATMs. However, the new Rs 200 notes are still to be provided to us by the respective banks so that the testing can begin,” Anand Garollu, General Manager (Services), NCR Corporation said.
K. Srinivas, Managing Director, and CEO of BTI Payments, a RBI-licensed firm that operates cash dispensers not owned and managed by banks, said, “Recalibration will begin as and when we receive adequate quantity of new Rs 200 notes. We are looking to roll this out as quickly as possible.”
He said that the industry was expecting new Rs 200 notes to be available over a period of time across various geographies.
“The recalibration can be done progressively as and when the new denomination note starts to become available. Unlike the last time around (during demonetization), when we had to recalibrate all machines in one go,” Srinivas added.
The ATM companies said that they were expecting to receive official communication on recalibration of ATMs soon. However, emails to RBI in this regard did not elicit any reply, they said.
“The production of these “new Rs 200 notes” is being ramped up by the currency printing presses and over time, as more notes are printed, it will be distributed across the country through the banking channels and will be available for the public in adequate quantity,” the RBI had said in a statement.
Currently, new Rs 200 notes are available only through select RBI offices and some banks.
While State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank are reported to have received the new Rs 200 notes, Eknath Baliga, Manager, KYC-Antimoney Laundering Cell, Corporation Bank, Mangalore, told IANS that none of its branches across the country had received the new Rs 200 notes so far.
The new Rs 200 notes are currently being printed only by RBI presses. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) sources told IANS that the company has not received any indent so far for the printing of new Rs 200 notes. India’s two currency presses are owned by RBI and two by SPMCIL, which is a government-owned company.
How ATM recalibration happens:
Usually, an ATM holds four cassettes — three of which can continue to be used for Rs 100, Rs 500, Rs 2,000, and the fourth cassette can be used for the new Rs 200 notes. On an average, each cassette has a capacity to hold 2,000-2,500 notes depending upon the quality of cash issued by banks. However, there are many ATMs that only have either two or three cassettes.
The number of slots in the ATM can be configured as per the bank’s preference. The banks decide which denomination needs to be configured in a machine on the basis of the customer profile in the area where the ATM is located and the number of transactions on that machine.
The banks need to make requisite changes at their ATM switch before the rollout of the physical recalibration at the ATMs in the field.
The recalibration of a new denomination takes 30-45 minutes per ATM. The process of recalibration is not very difficult but is time-consuming given an engineer has to visit every ATM and configure it to dispense the requisite denomination.
The introduction of the Rs 200 note has been welcomed as it would ease the currency circulation in the market as people prefer lower denomination cash withdrawals from ATMs. Rs 200 would also be more convenient for rural consumers. (IANS)
Since the website updates data based on users’ feedback, one can update the status by clicking the ATM venue link and then selecting one of the three options — cash, long wait and no cash — to help the website get updated for other users. (IANS)
New Delhi, Nov 13, 2016: The Finance Ministry said on Saturday that the ATMs will be able to disburse new currency notes only by early December as recalibration of the machines requires both hardware and software modifications.
“Recalibration (requires both software and hardware changes) of ATMs is going on, which will be completed by end of this month or early December. Other denominations will then be disbursed by ATMs,” a statement from Finance Ministry said.
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“Presently only Rs 100 notes are being disbursed from the ATMs. Out of 2 lakh ATMs, about 1.2 lakh are operational,” it added.
Taking stock of the issuance of new currency notes to the public, Finance Ministry said that a total of over seven crore transactions have taken place in less than three days after the demonetisation was announced.
“A total of over 7 crore transactions have taken place from November 9 up to mid-day of November 12 (i.e. in the last two and a half days) for deposit, exchange of old notes and withdrawal from ATM and over the counter,” it said.
“Old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations amounting to about Rs 2 lakh crore have been deposited to banks,” it said.
Ministry of Finance along with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Indian Banks Association (IBA) and a few major banks participated in the review meeting on Saturday to take stock of the cash availability, it said.
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“There is sufficient cash available with RBI and Banks. They were advised step up the supply of cash to the public,” the statement said.
The availability of cash and issuance of cash to bank branches and post offices on a daily basis is being constantly monitored and necessary rebalancing being done for more efficient allocation of banknotes of requisite denominations between different areas, it said.
To cater to the requirement of rural areas, banks were advised to supply notes of smaller denominations (Rs 100 and less) as well as Rs 10 coins, it added.
One of the primary objectives of cancellation of legal tender character of old series of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes was to check the menace of terror financing through counterfeit currency notes. The receipt of counterfeits currency notes is being monitored closely.
RBI has been advised by the government to set up a special cell to monitor the receipt of fake currency notes and inform such instances to the Economic Offences Wing of the state police, enforcement agencies of the Central Government and also to the Ministry of Finance.
“The law enforcement agencies have also been advised to maintain close vigil over possible movement of fake currencies and take prompt action as and when such cases are detected by them as well as by RBI and banks,” it said. (IANS)