THE Centre’s decision to demonetise higher-denomination notes has forced banks to enhance and upgrade internal surveillance within their premises, to keep a close watch on employees and the process of handling cash. In the first two weeks after demonetisation, security arrangements in most banks, such as installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and deployment of security guards, were enhanced.
Speaking to Pune Newsline, the manager in a public sector bank said, “Since day one after demonetisation, we have received instructions from our head office to beef up internal surveillance, especially in sections of the bank where cash is handled, such as the cash counters. We were asked to ensure that all CCTV cameras are in working condition. They have also asked us to inform them if we need more CCTV cameras. The managers of the respective branches have been asked to continuously monitor live CCTV feeds from the cameras. The recorded feed is closely monitored and any suspicious move is questioned and dealt with internally.”
Brij Mohan Sharma, chief general manager and zonal head of IDBI, said banks have been instructed to preserve the CCTV footage till ‘further notice.’ “Usually, the CCTV footage is kept for 90 days, but now we have started making alternative arrangements to preserve the footage,” he said.
Though changes had to be made in the bank’s technical back-up system, it had to be done in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines.
A large number of bank branches, which had less risk perception and initially appointed non-armed guards, have employed armed guards after demonetisation came into effect.
Vijay Dhere, chairman of the Pune District Cooperative Banks’ Association, said even small banks have installed CCTV cameras in each and every corner of their branches. Most banks have also made special arrangements to store scrapped Rs 500 and 1,000 notes.
A manager of a private bank said, “We are closely monitoring the transportation of new and old notes… the movement of vehicles is being monitored and the security deployed on these vehicles has also been upgraded.”
He added, “In-house audits have also been made more stringent and more frequent… all these steps are important and will be in place for the foreseeable future.”
Last week, the RBI had issued instructions to banks to keep a check on the accounts of their customers. While in the past, some of the banks conducted special security audits, some are now in the process of recalibrating their security systems.
Meanwhile, some banks have also complained about the excess cost they have incurred while implementing these security measures. Ramesh Thorat, chairman of the Pune District Central Cooperative Bank, said, “The bank’s security expenses have gone up quite a few times due to the storage of both old and new notes within their premises.”