Government to deploy over 2 lakh micro-ATMs to facilitate disbursement of new currency

MUMBAI: About 2 lakh micro-ATMs will come to the rescue of people as the government has directed banks to activate nearly 1.1 lakh such ATMs in rural areas and nearly 90,000 in urban and semi-urban areas.

With nearly 70,000 transactions being conducted on Aadhaar enabled micro-ATMs every week, the government is hoping that this will reduce some stress on the bank branches and ATM network.

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“Micro-ATMs can be extended in the shortest possible time and the more cash-in, cash-out points are there, the more it will help the public,” Ashok Kumar Singh, director (financial institutions) at the finance ministry told ET.

“We have almost doubled the number of transactions at business correspondent points in the last couple of months and interoperable transactions have risen 10 times in the last six months.”

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Micro-ATMs are handheld devices enabled with GPRS and some have a fingerprint scanner attached to them, making them Aadhaar-compatible.

All that a customer has to do is use the debit card as he would in an ATM, and the moment the card is swiped, the micro-ATM connects it to the core banking system and money is either debited or credited from the account.

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The government in a statement said that a large number of micro-ATMs will be deployed across the country to facilitate the disbursement of new currency.

The government has also increased the cash holding limit of business correspondents to Rs 50,000 and these representatives will now be allowed to withdraw cash multiple times as opposed to only once a day earlier.

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“We also plan to make all ration (PDS) shops as business correspondents which are around 5.5 lakh in number,” added Singh.

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