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Updated: May 4, 2013 10:41 IST

Easy money

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Rural ATMs.
The Hindu Rural ATMs.

Automated Teller Machines or ATMs have become an essential part of urban life in the country. Some of us have taken them for granted and express frustration if a machine refuses to work. But with so many machines dotting the cityscape, we always have the option of walking to another nearest ATM.

However, ATMs have not been able to make a fixture in rural areas, whether due to lack of steady electricity or because banks do not find it viable.

There is an attempt to fill this gap by providing solar powered ATMs in rural and semi-rural areas. From the first solar powered ATM in Cuddalore more than five years ago to 700 ATMS in various parts of the country, the solar ATM is designed to cater to the needs of the rural populace.

They consume 90 per cent less power than conventional ATMs and can operate in high degrees of temperatures. In rural India, generally ATMs are not fed with new crisp currency notes. Hence, the machines are designed in a way to dispense even folded or crumpled notes without a problem.

Affordability is a unique selling point of these machines as the cost of setting these up and running them is much lower than a standard ATM. For one, air conditioning is not needed which brings down the monthly electricity bill drastically.

These ATMs have been designed by Vortex Engineering Private Ltd and IIT Madras.

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