Demonetisation: Why Should People Suffer Because of Non-Standardised ATMs?

by November 22, 2016 0 comments

Continuing long queues outside banks and ATMs due to demonetisation have led the Supreme Court to warn of riots breaking out in the near future unless the government comes up measures to bring the situation under control. After PM Modi’s announcement, the initial euphoria ushered in by experts promising an utopian economy is gradually tapering off with fears of economic chaos setting-in in the days to come.

Did the government err on the side of caution?

This leads one to the question: Whose fault is this anyway? Did the PM get an adrenalin rush in his zeal to zero-in on black money hoarders or was it really a well-thought policy? With each passing day of misery most amongst us have really started doubting the latter part. From the IT industry’s perspective I really suspect that the ATM misery was not even imagined in anybody’s  wildest dreams. ATMs, with their reach to even the most far-flung places in the country, are central to the banking industry and any move that screws up their functioning ought to have been worked out in detail.

Is ATM standardisation the way forward?

Rather than tinkering with their mechanics post demonetisation, a good beginning would have been to lay down uniform standards for their functioning. So, whatever the size, design or weight of the currency note, the ATM should have required minimal effort in recalibration. From what we hear, from ATM cassettes to load trays, some of the stuff needs to be imported, hence adding on to the inconvenience. Moreover, having a multitude of ATM suppliers with their own infrastructure and software engineers, only adds to the confusion. So, the key lessons for the public at large during this severe distress is first to keep cash handy all the times as digital payment platforms are not easy to transform and secondly have currency in all denominations, for you never know the next round of demonetisation could be round the corner!

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