Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fixing the wrong machines: EVMs instead of ATMs

Early this evening I went to an ICICI bank ATM to withdraw some 'change'. Instead of entering 400, I entered 500 and pat came a single note!! I took it to a nearby medical shop and got a candy (tamarind flavor) instead of 1 rupee change!

I fail to understand why RBI and the govt have been unable to force retail banks to ensure liquidity in proper denominations. Why can't banks be forced to issue 20, 50 rupees denominations for say 500 rupees, per account per month on their ATMs?

When I was still in high school, my dad used to go withdraw money from a bank every month and will bring a bundle of 10 rupee bills (1000) and a packet of 1 or 2 rupee coins. I did that too from a Wells Fargo branch in Santa Monica (quarters) or the university quarter machines for my laundry.

But I wonder how easy it is for us (and the customer facing businesses) to get such change from an Indian bank. One of the last few times I went to a bank (HDFC Koramangala), I ended up carrying my bicycle inside the branch as a protest against their security not allowing my two wheeler to be parked in their two wheeler parking space.

While bank ATMs remain in their -5.0 version or something, some professional litigants and the equally indulgent judges are forcing the Election Commission to create a paper trail of some 250 million votes cast in our elections!!

No one except the most cynical politicos, have had a problem with our voter machines. Since these paper slips are not going to be issued to voters, wonder what is going to prevent Dr. Swamy from continuing to claim that EVMs are preset to vote for his opposing parties and print the paper slip likewise too?!! And as one former election commissioners observed, giving these paper slips instead to voters will be a constant nuisance with usual suspects protesting that they didn't press the button as recorded in the paper slip. Oh, well.

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