In the wake of a spurt in attacks, hijacking and looting of private cash vans and ATM fraud, the central government plans to restrict replenishment of cash in automated teller machines across the country, a move which could affect the 24x7 cash availability.
According to the fresh guidelines issued by the Home Ministry, no cash loading of ATMs or cash movement will be allowed after 8 pm in urban areas and after 5 pm in rural areas. In naxal affected areas, cash vans will have to conduct operations only between 9 am to 3 pm. The new guidelines also prevent cash vans from carrying more than Rs 5 crores per trip.
If all the cash in a machine is withdrawn after the stipulated deadline, the customers, especially in the rural areas, will have to wait for the next day or go in search of another ATM to withdraw money.
There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans plying across the country. These cash vans, owned by non-bank entities like private security agencies, are ferrying over INR 15,000 crores currency each day. The Home Ministry pointed out that privately owned cash vans and currency vaults have become soft targets and are resulting in serious crimes across states.
According to the basic guidelines and risk mitigation procedure laid out by the ministry, only Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) or any other vehicle of similar type should be used for the transportation of cash. Cash van should have two independent compartments and the compartment for storing cash should be physically separated and locked from the passenger compartment.
Every cash van should be equipped with CCTV camera with DVR with 30 days backup footage to track activities of crew within the vehicle. The cash vans must also be fitted with GPS tracking device. Apart from driver, every cash van must have two armed security guards and two ATM officer or custodians on board for every single cash transportation service. Each of these individuals must also obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from his local police station.
The guidelines strictly directs that all personnel involved in cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities must be adequately trained and certified. All cash handling, including counting, sorting, bundling and ATM cash replenishment activities must only be carried out in secured premises.
(Source: MHA website)