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Last Updated : May 22, 2020 11:25 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Demand for cash during lockdown nearly double of 2019 elections: Report

The surge in cash transactions is said to be due to the lockdown, where depositors are withdrawing cash for meeting essential needs.

Representative image
Representative image

The demand for cash has reportedly increased during the lockdown and is said to be double of what was seen during the 2019 election period.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in its latest release, stated that Rs 1.42 lakh crore worth of currency in cash was in circulation between April 01 and May 15.

This is almost double the amount of Rs 72,984 crore that the RBI released during the same period in 2019, as per a report  by The Economic Times.

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The surge in cash transactions is said to be due to the lockdown, where depositors are withdrawing cash for meeting essential needs.

Radhika Rao, India economist at Singapore-based DBS said, “While at normal times such a surge is seen as an indication of higher economic activity or event-driven phenomenon like elections, we suspect that the recent increase reflects higher cash withdrawals by depositors to meet needs during the lockdown period.”

Between April 1 and May 8, currency with the public amounted to Rs 1.24 lakh crore compared to Rs 65,551 crore in the same period a year ago. "A lot of cash is not coming back to the banking system during the current lock-down phase," said Anush Raghavan, senior vice president, CMS Infosystem, a company engaged in cash handling. He further added that regulators have been ensuring there is no shortage of cash in ATMs.

Beneficiaries of government cash deposit through Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) also withdrew cash from their accounts, the report stated. Nearly Rs 50,000- Rs 60,000 crore of the stimulus package announced by the finance minister in March is said to have been withdrawn from the DBT accounts of women and senior Jan Dhan account holders. 

Economists caution about this trend which could reverse with a surge in that cash going back to banks when normalcy returns. " (It is) also pointing to underlying caution over when normalcy would return," said Rao from DBS.

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First Published on May 22, 2020 11:25 am
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