Though the Union Ministry of Finance has identified installation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as one of the key processes towards achieving financial inclusion, as many as 60 villages in Tirupur district still do not have any ATM.

From being a mere cash dispenser, the ATM kiosks are now acting as ‘one stop hub’ for getting value-added services with separate machines kept for accepting remittances.

The ATMs are also facilitators to help people draw cash round the clock, which is beneficial especially for rural folks as they do not have to borrow for their immediate needs.

Lead District Manager R. Rajagopal told The Hindu that special thrust was being given to improve the ATM penetration in the villages in the district. “For example, Canara Bank, which is also the Lead Bank, has obtained requisite sanctions from Reserve Bank of India to open 22 more ATMs in the district this financial year. All of these 22 will be set up in rural areas,” he said.

Seeing the critical gaps in the ATM penetration, the District Consultative Committee for Banking Development is now making requisitions to various bank branches in the rural areas in the 60 villages to install ATMs as quickly as possible.

Another grave concern is the lack of security guards in many of the ATMs, including the ones set up in urban, semi-urban and rural areas of the district.

According to a data obtained from the Committee, even the existing ATMs of the Lead Bank in the district have no security guards.

“Presence of security guards is also essential if people have to use the rural ATMs in the night hours or lonely hours,” some bank officials pointed out.