The department of financial services (DFS) has issued an advisory to banks to keep all banking channels open and ensure branches and business correspondents function throughout the lockdown period, according to an Economic Times report.
To ensure that people do not face any hassle in their financial transactions, the DFS has also written to chief secretaries of all states and union territories to ensure the mobility of bank employees, RBI staff, NPCI staff and cash logistics companies during the 21-day lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, branches in urban and semi-urban areas were following cluster-wise banking under which a single branch of a particular bank was functioning within a 5 km radius while in rural areas branches were open on alternate days.
However, branches will continue to only provide essential services (Cash deposit and withdrawal, clearing of cheques, remittance services, government transactions and ATM services) with minimal staff. While bank branches will be open on all days starting 30 March, they are likely to function between 10 am to 2 pm.
The advisory is also aimed at servicing the rural customers who will especially benefit from government's Rs 1.7 lakh crore stimulus package through DBT (direct benefit transfer).
On Saturday, FM Nirmala Sitharaman said that she has asked state-owned and private sector banks to ensure there was "adequate liquidity" at the branch, ATM and banking correspondent level. The minister also spoke of discussing with states to ensure that there are no restrictions on the movement of cash, bankers, vendors or bank mitras.
The DFS, which oversees India's banking and insurance sector operations, has also created a new handle @DFSFightsCorona to help customers raise complaints, queries and concerns on banking and insurance-related issues with regard to coronavirus related relief measures.