One-Third of India’s ATMs Broken

July 21, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. malfunction / mælˈfʌŋk ʃən / (v.) – to not function or to not work well
Example: The car stopped when its engine malfunctioned.

2. norm / nɔrm (n.) – behavior or method accepted by everyone
Example: Our town still follows cultural norms.

3. cater / ˈkeɪ tər / (v.) – to provide something that fulfills the needs or wants of someone
Example: The new ramp was built to cater to people in wheelchairs.

4. vicinity / vɪˈsɪn ɪ ti / (n.) – the area that surrounds a certain place
Example: There are very few trash bins within the mall’s vicinity.

5. prevalence / ˈprɛv ə ləns / (n.) – the state of being common
Example: New ordinances were passed due to the prevalence of crime in the area.


Read the text below.
A survey of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, revealed that about a third of India’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are broken.

According to RBI’s deputy governor S.S. Mundra, the country’s central bank surveyed around 4,000 ATMs from all over the country and found that around 30% were malfunctioning. According to India’s bank administrators, malfunctions happen for a variety of reasons. These include mechanical failures, malfunctioning software, and sometimes, even lack of electricity.

Mundra also added that aside from being broken, many of the ATMs were found to not conform to regulatory norms. For instance, some of them do not have facilities that cater to people with disability, and others do not display materials that should appear in the vicinity. After the survey, RBI vowed to supervise banks in addressing the problems that they found.

A possible reason for the prevalence of broken ATMs in the country is lack of maintenance, because ATMs are costly to maintain. According to a study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, banks need to spend Rs50,000, or around $740 per month, on each ATM. This covers the cost of security, technology, and rentals.

The results of the survey pose a serious problem in the country, especially because majority of transactions there are done with cash. A 2012 study from the Tufts University in Massachusetts found that 87% of transactions use cash.

Due to the widespread use of cash, the government launched several projects in 2014 to increase the country’s ATMs. According to RBI, India currently has 197,327 ATMs, which is much higher than its 27,000 units back in 2007.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are the possible disadvantages of malfunctioning ATMs?
·         How can the authorities address the disadvantages that may come from broken ATMs?

Discussion B

·         What is the importance of having cash with you at all times?
·         What alternatives to cash are gaining popularity in your country?

July 21, 2016