By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 20: Middle class people and students take this as gospel that 100-ruppe, 200-rupee and 500-rupee notes are a scarce in ATMs in Guwahati, especially in that of the State Bank of India (SBI). A reality check by this reporter has found that the allegation from commoners and students is not for nothing.
As many as 14 months have been elapsed after the demonetization by the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre. However, notes of lower denomitions are still a scarce in Guwahati. The worst affected rung in the economic hierarchy in Guwahati, because of this scarcity, are middle class people, students and the commoners who need notes of lower denomition every now and then. There are commoners like daily-wage earners who badly need notes of lower denomitions every now and then. This lot comprises people who do not or cannot go for transactions through cheque or online.
However, the lead bank – SBI – too has its own say on this episode. Sources in the bank say that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) does not provide it notes of lower denomition in adequate number. Though the RBI launched newly minted 200-rupee notes in 2017, such notes were not in circulation for a long time for reasons they are not aware of, they say.
In Guwahati SBI alone has over 250 ATMs. There are ATMs of other public and private sector banks in the city.
Talking to this reporter, an SBI customer said: “Banking in the SBI nowadays makes people feel the pinch. The lead bank charges more commission than other public and private sectors banks. Moreover, notes of lower denomitions are a scarce in SBI ATMs. If the RBI doesn’t provide the lead bank with adequate number of notes of lower denomitions, how come ATMs of other banks provide such notes? Lack of notes of lower denomition leads SBI customers to use ATMs of other banks by paying additiol charges. This practice does burn holes in the pockets of middle class people, students and commoners for whom a penny matters much.”