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A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Saturday, October 01, 2011

APPALLING ATMs

The Anna Hazare led public protest  on the  issue of corruption has still not faded from my memory.   What was started as protest programme turned into a mass hysteria as it  got a tsunami of support, especially from educated young.     The cause for which Anna stood is absolutely necessary in today's turbulent times.     Corruption  does not simply mean  indulging in financial irregularities or siphoning money or showing favoritism or violation of law.    Failure to give better service delivery i.e. what the Anna Team coined as Public Charter also amounts to failure to public service.

The whole issue here is service oriented mind which I  think in Govt. Sector is severely lacking.


Let me go into detail of what happened to me the other day.  I returned empty handed from my bank's ATM.  (SBI, Masjid Mor, New Delhi)   as the machine was in switch off mode.  Later on, the next day being 1st of the month (1st Oct. 2011),  I went to my bank's another ATM at SBI, South Ext. 2, New Delhi  where two ATM machines stood shamelessly begging pardon for unservice.   Being a market hub, so many people like me came and had gone with fumes of anger.

 Considering my experience earlier, I suspected  that the bank people might be trying to evade from their responsibility of filling  the machines with cash on demand basis.   God only knows whether or not  they are  doing deliberately .    It is anybody's guess that the ATM machines need to be filled with cash atleast on the month's beginning day to cater the customers needs.  

I am an unlucky fellow who burnt my pocket last month not due to my  fault   but due to the careless functioning of ATM of  my bank.  Sadly,  all my cash drawl transactions happened from private bank ATMs leaving my account debited with service charges as I  surpassed the mandatory 5 transactions of the  month.   This is the plight of a customer ( like me)  in a metropolitan city which is also boasted as country's capital i.e. New Delhi.

Out of fury, I ask bank people these questions : Why do you allow the things so rotten up ?   Why you are ducking laggards as your functionaries ?  Are you really service oriented ?  See these things will never happen in private banks ATMs.  In what way you are different from them and why such apathy  ???

I have one suggestion to the SBI (my bank).    Improve the accountability with regard to Personal Banking.  Give a world class service  or shut down.

I was quite embarrassed in one  occasion when the manager of my bank tried to deny me withdrawal from my Public Provident Fund Account.   He tried to show up to me as if he was giving loan to me.   When I yelled at him,  he conceded my demand.

These are not the isolated incidents.   Out of  frustration, I am writing   these lines to lighten my heart.  Hope some change will happen as public will no longer sit as silent spectators.    When  banks can not give service which they suppose to do, better for them to wind up their  business and give the opportunity to others who have a  heart to do a decent job.  May the top bosses are quite good, but middle level managers should be pulled  to ensure that the service delivery is not neglected.

One idea to overcome such problems !    Since the ATMs and banks are operationally merged in terms of services   and  technically come under one umbrella with regard to cash drawals of inter-bank customers, RBI may buy the idea of appointing one nodal agency responsible for   cash fill-in   in ATMs in cities/ town /villages so that  dedicated teams can take care  of things more coherently and help to provide a better service to customers.  Further   the Heads of  Banks should connect to customers through social networking sites to listen to their agonies for quick redressal.

Service delivery is key to banks functioning .   Technology has already brought a sea change in services, but human attention is equally essential to make it workable, otherwise  bad service  may snowball  into major revolt from customers.

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