Notebandi and Fake notes- From the other side of the table

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Bank

It was a usual tiring day in a semi-urban understaffed bank but the night of November 8th sparked a chain of events that tested every banks efficiency down to the grassroots level, and everyone performed surprisingly well.

Since that night there has been a flurry of activities and bankers were not prepared for it. In fact nobody was prepared for anything like this. The first few days were confusing, realized both for the people and for the banks as rumor mills were running overtime, but once realized that there is no way out of it; they adapted it and they did well.

Now one interesting trend that demonetization sparked was the demand of ATMs, cards, the internet and mobile banking. People from all age groups came and were showing interest; applying for new services, reissuing lost pin numbers and the likes. Online transactions have risen and all the data of the leading banks corroborate it.

In this whole demonetisation saga, perhaps the most understated workers were the vendors who were incharge of refilling standalone bank atms. People may have complained about the unavailability of cash from bank atms but once you step onto this side of currency circulation you would know they did a great job to keep them trickle. And the whole system worked efficiently then, at a time when the chance of fake notes returning to the banking system was at its highest. Now that the situation has somehow eased out and there is the availability of cash, surprisingly slips are being found now.

It has been reported from Delhi as well as Uttar Pradesh fake notes of ₹2000 has been dispensed from atms. Some notes as silly as ‘children’s bank of India’. Before saying why it is impossible, let me tell you about the journey of the currency notes. They get printed in RBI mandated printing press and are transported to currency chest branches of the respective bank. Sealed packets are handed over to respective branches under its authority to remit. The branches, in turn, feed the cash into the bank ATMs under its control or hire the services of third party vendors. The vendors, in turn, verify the cash and upon proper inspection take up the responsibility to feed the bank atms on banks behalf. Now everybody loves to earn their daily bread enough to know the difference between such silly fake notes and original ones. Now the question is; can we still attribute thus to “human error” or there is more to it?

So the question is, why bank atms are targeted? Since 8th november proves when it was comfortably dispensing 500 and 1000 notes oblivious of our PM’s announcement, and the fact that the just withdrawn new note of 500 would seize to be a legal tender from the very next day drew the ire of the public, together with the immediate shortfall of currency notes post-November 10th and long ques outside ATMs provided with the theatrics to all the naysayers who are out to undo any good. Media houses covered them widely, politicians cried for the people and huffed and puffed and spewed venom against PM Modi. Nothing worked. The recent bouts proved that. What if the anticipation of a far greater embarrassment has led some elements to come up with innovative ideas to defame something that has caused much heartburn among the corrupts? How else than to touch a raw nerve; the atms.

Isn’t it a bit too much of a coincidence that the first fake notes from bank atm were found in Delhi, the capital state whose Chief Minister is somewhat obsessed with PM Modi in a bad way. And following the coverage it got, the next appeared out of an atm in Uttar Pradesh, a state on the verge of polls. Don’t be surprised if more such notes appear from time to time. Rest assured, responsibilities will be fixed; the scamsters will be caught, and punishment will be meted out. Some may loose their jobs.but is it necessary for the powerplayers to compromise the integrity and trust of vital institutions just to push their narrow agenda? Won’t we all be paying a bigger price for that?