The government of the Union has asked all banks to ensure that their banking channels – branches, ATMs and network of commercial correspondents – are operational in India for transactions, especially cash withdrawals.
Banks are expected to witness a spike in transactions on all channels next week, due to wages paid to employees. Retirees will also visit branches during the first days of April. Beneficiaries of the Direct Benefit Transfer System (DBT) are also likely to withdraw money from their accounts, public sector bankers said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held face-to-face talks with bank chief executives on Saturday. The national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has resulted in disruption to field banking. Banking services have been reported as essential services.
According to the finance ministry’s Twitter account, during the call, the banks raised specific problems and were heard in detail. Solutions to these problems are found through coordination with state governments and all problems are resolved, he added.
FM recognized the role of public sector banks and encouraged them to continue their efforts to provide uninterrupted banking services across the country.
Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda and Madnesh Kumar Mishra and Suchindra Mishra, who are both joint secretaries from the Department of Financial Services, were also present during the calls.
Bankers reported that over 90% of branches work for transactions and special care is taken to keep enough cash in branches, ATMs and CBs. Some branches are unable to operate due to local factors such as restrictions on the movement of people. Bank leaders resolve these issues in coordination with district magistrates, police, and state governments.
Banks are considering additional measures for CBs, such as insurance coverage and additional financial incentives, as transactions at British Columbia points declined sharply in March after the freeze in various states.
Meanwhile, the public sector lender, Indian Bank, has launched a mobile ATM, which goes to settlements, residential communities and vegetable markets in Chennai for the benefit of all civilians. The bank is also starting up similar facilities in other locations, including New Delhi, said its CEO and CEO Padmaja Chundru.