Banks must keep open for PM’s 27.5K cr package distribution: Govt

Customers Bank Queue Cash

New Delhi, March 31 : As the government is set to disburse Rs 27,500 crore financial package under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana this week and the coming weeks,the government has directed states and UTs to ensure functioning of all bank branches, cash management and maintenance agencies of ATMs amid the national lockdown.

The instructions were given to all the Chief Secretaries of states and Union Territories (UTs) by Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Monday advising that local, district, state level authorities, and police should be coordinate with banks to ensure the disbursement of money to the people covered under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.

“As you are aware, smooth working of banks and related activities across the country are essential. Further the government has announced a financial package under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana under which approximately Rs 27,500 crore is going to be disbursed during this week and in the coming weeks to the targeted public through bank branches, ATMs and business correspondents (BCs),” the order said.

Under the guidelines on the lockdown measures as issued under the Disaster Management Act, vide orders dated March 24, 25 and 27, banks, ATMs including IT vendors for banking operations, BCs and ATM operation and cash management services have been exempted, the order said. However, the recent order was issued as it came to notice that many states have issued instructions with reduced working hours, functioning of limited number of branches, restriction on movement of personnel related to filling of cash into ATMs, and maintenance of ATMs.

Besides, banks were permitted to remain open and functional for extended working hours, if necessary, on March 30 and March 31 for their annual closure and government business. Only major government wings are functional and majority of them have instructed their employees to work from home aimd the 21-day lockdown which was imposed since March 24 midnight to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Following the announcement — the first of its kind in history, the Home Ministry issued various guidelines to exempt some essential services so that people do not face problem in this crisis.

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