No ATM will be replenished with cash after 9 pm in cities and 6 pm in rural areas from next year even as two armed guards will accompany crisp notes in transit as per a new directive issued by the Home Ministry. The deadline for putting money in the ATMs located in Naxal-hit areas is 4 pm while private cash handling agencies must collect money from the banks in the first half of the day and transport notes only in armoured vehicles.
In a notification, the Home Ministry said the new Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) would come into effect from February 8, 2019, in view of the spurt in incidents of attacks on cash vans, cash vaults, ATM frauds and other internal frauds leading to an increased sense of insecurity. There are over 8,000 privately owned cash vans plying across the country, operated by non-bank private agencies, and they handle over Rs 15,000 crore daily on behalf of banks. Sometimes, the private agencies keep currency overnight at their cash vaults.
"No cash loading of the ATMs or cash transportation activities shall be done after 9 pm in urban areas, after 6 pm in rural areas and before 9 am or after 4 pm in the districts notified by the central government as Left Wing Extremism affected areas," the notification said. The agencies shall provide private security for the cash transportation with the requisite number of trained staff, every cash van shall have one driver, two armed security guards, two ATM officers or custodians.
One armed guard must sit in the front along with the driver and another in the rear portion of the van while in transit. During loading or unloading, nature's call, tea or lunch break, at least one armed security guard shall remain present with the cash van all the time. The ex-serviceman, otherwise eligible, may preferably be appointed for providing security for cash transportation. Every cash transportation shall be carried out only in secured cash vans fitted with GPS tracking device and it must be ensured that no cash van carries cash of more than Rs 5 crore per trip.
No private security agency shall appoint anyone for the cash transportation unless the person has undergone thorough antecedent check like police, Aadhaar and residence verifications, previous employer check, credit history check and fidelity insurance. Each of the cash boxes shall be secured to the floor with separate chains and locks that can be opened only by using separate keys kept with different custodians. The cash van shall be provided with a small CCTV system with at least five days recording facility and three cameras installed in front, rear and inside of the cabin.
A security alarm with GSM-based auto-dialer shall be provided with a motorised siren. The cash van shall be equipped with hooter, fire extinguishers and emergency lights to ensure quick reaction in case of an attack. The private security agency will ensure that all cash handling, including counting, sorting, and bundling activities shall be carried out in secured premises in accordance with specific guidelines. The premises shall be designed to include two physically independent areas, one for general office purpose and other for secured cash processing and handling activities and it shall accommodate space for cash deposit, collection, sorting, counting and delivery and dispatch of cash on secured cash vans.