Long queues before ATMs will not get better any time soon. In fact, it may take at least two months before things begin to look better and many more months thereafter to look perfectly normal. Here's why:
1. The supply-chain is broken. Simply put, there isn't enough supply of denominations the country currently needs - the Rs 100 notes. The capacity to produce currency is limited, so is the distribution channel.
2. Rajiv Kaul, CEO of CMS Info Systems Limited, a cash management services company, points out that there are enough technical issues - ATMs have to dispense new notes of a new dimensions and therefore, need to be calibrated manually, one by one. The problem is there are multiple agencies involved: the banks, managed services players, ATM manufacturers, and cash management companies. Aligning the four for each ATM is a nightmare scenario. As of yesterday, the industry had calibrated 12,500 ATMs. The target is to do two lakh over the next three weeks.
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3. The manpower is limited. New workers cannot be mobilised to work on the ATMs at this stage because of security issues.
4. Kaul also points out another bottleneck. Cash management companies such as his have to wait in the same queue as other customers before bank branches. Bank branches are currently prioritising the customer over ATM companies. The fallout is obvious. Cash management employees at times wait upto three hours and by the time their turn comes up, there is no money left with the bank.
Everything from organisational, people to technical issues need sorting before the ATMs can be 100 per cent loaded.