Beginning February 8, 2019, no ATM in urban and rural regions across the country will be replenished with currency notes post 9:00 pm and 6:00 pm, respectively, as per a new notification released by the Union Home Ministry.
The Ministry has motioned this move in the light of the recent wave of attacks on cash vans and vaults along with different levels of internal and external frauds because of which, the sense of insecurity has increased manifold.
“No cash loading of the ATMs or cash transportation activities shall be done after 9:00 p.m. in urban areas, after 6:00 p.m. in rural areas and before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. in the districts notified by the central government as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas,” the notification said.
As per the new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs), two armed guards will have to accompany the currency in transit, and every private cash handling agency will have to make sure that the currency collection from the banks is organised well within the first half of the day and these shall only be transported in armoured vehicles.
A few other instructions decreed by the ministry include the provision of private security for cash transportation by agencies with necessary number of trained staff including one driver, two armed security guards, two ATM officers and that every cash movement must be only carried out in secured vehicles equipped with GPS tracking devices as well as small CCTV systems with recording facility and three cameras installed in front, rear and inside of the cabin.
The agencies have also been directed to abide by the rule that each cash-van per trip must carry no more than ₹5 crore.
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A major reason why the ministry has buckled up security guidelines is because it was found that many private agencies store the currency in their cash vaults overnight, which obviously has been eliciting such attacks of vandalism and theft.
According to Press Trust of India (PTI), there are roughly over 8,000 privately owned cash vans functioning across the country that are controlled by non-bank private agencies, and it is reported that these vehicles handle over ₹15,000 crore on behalf of the banks on a daily basis.
With this move, we hope that there will be lesser incidents of theft and vandalism on cash vans and that people can safely access money from ATMs.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)