ATMs will not be replenished with cash after 9 pm in cities and after 6 pm in rural areas, the government has declared in new rules that will be in place from February next year.
A home ministry notification says two armed guards will be present when new notes are being delivered to the machines; one has to sit with the driver and the other, in the back. A guard should be with the cash van at all times.
In Maoist-hit regions, ATMs will not be refilled with cash after 4 pm, the government says. Private cash handling agencies have to collect money from the banks in the first half of the day and transport notes only in armoured vehicles.
The Home Ministry said the new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) would come into effect from February 8. "The rules follow a spurt in incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM fraud and other internal frauds leading to increased sense of insecurity," said the ministry's notification.
Over 8,000 privately-owned cash vans operate across the country and they handle over Rs 15,000 crore daily, on behalf of banks.
The private agencies often keep the currency overnight in their cash vaults.
The government suggests that an ex-serviceman be appointed for security during cash transportation.
Cash should be transported only in secure vans fitted with GPS tracking device and no more than Rs 5 crore should be delivered per trip.
Staff transporting cash has to be subjected to a thorough background check like police, Aadhaar and residence verifications, previous employer check, credit history check and fidelity insurance.
Each cash box will be fixed to the floor with separate chains and locks that can be opened only by using separate keys kept with different custodians.
The cash van will have a small CCTV system with at least five days recording facility and three cameras installed in front, rear and inside of the cabin.
The van will be equipped with a security alarm with an auto-dialer, motorised siren, hooter, fire extinguishers and emergency lights.
It is up to the private security agency to ensure that all cash handling, including counting, sorting, and bundling activities are carried out in secured premises with space for cash deposit, collection, sorting, counting.
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