Banks in Punjab will open will remain open across Punjab on March 30 & 31, 2020, to facilitate people in their financial transactions amid the curfew restrictions, under orders from Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. From April 3 onwards, all bank branches shall be open only on two days of the week, on rotation basis.On the directives of the Chief Minister, the State Home Department has issued an advisory regarding operation of banks branches during curfew amid COVID-19 in the State on 30th and 31st March, 2020, and beyond.The Deputy Commissioners of the State and UT Chandigarh have been asked to extend necessary support and ensure other requisite items during relaxation to the banking staff, said an official spokesperson.According to the advisory, it has been decided that all the bank branches, ATMs, Banking Correspondents (BCs), Cash in transit/cash replenishment agencies, IT and engineering support vendors for banks shall be operational on 30th and 31st March, 2020. Hence, all the Deputy Commissioners in the state and UT Chandigarh have been directed to provide necessary support by means of issuance of passes/other requisite relaxation.On March 31, special clearing of all government cheques will be conducted. Though 1st April, 2020 is a non-public dealing day for the banks, the DCs have been asked to provide requisite passes to the bank staff on that day too.From 3rd April, 2020 onwards, the operation of Bank branches, ATMs, BCs, cash in transit/cash replenishment agencies, IT and engineering support vendors for banks shall be regulated, with skeletal staff.
The banks would ensure that the ATMs are operational 24X7 and BCs provide services in rural areas with the security staff, and are instructed to ensure social distancing and hygiene. Further, while implementing the above for opening of the banking establishments in line with the business continuity plan, the existing instructions regarding skeletal staff, social distancing and hygiene and all the instructions issued by Home Department/Health Department shall have to be strictly complied with.These orders are in line with those issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, on March 24, 2020, for closure of all commercial and private establishments certain commercial and private establishments which include banks and ATMs also. This was followed up with orders from the Ministry of Finance, GoI, and Reserve Bank of India on 27th March, 2020.The advisory points out that there is an urgent need to keep the system operational, moreover, to tackle the impact of COVID-19 as the Government of India and Punjab Government have announced certain relief measures to various categories of Indian Citizens and these benefits have to be passed on to these beneficiaries in the time bound manner. Such benefits can reach the beneficiaries only when the banking channel is operational.