Closing ATMs in Bangalore …what exactly is government’s role?

The recent attack at a bank ATM in Bangalore is deplorable and has to be condemned to say the least.

However, what was amazing was to note the policy response to prevent such attacks in future.The Bangalore Police first asked all ATMs to have security deployed at ATMs and then shut down 1,037 ATMs after they failed to comply with their directive on security measures. Is security just responsibility of the banks?

Agreed banks should have posted security guards at ATMs but this is unlikely to be enough. There are so many ATMs open across the city (and country) in common public places. Why should then this responsibility be just of banks? Moreover, what can a security guard alone do? Can he fight a gang of criminals who attack an ATM?

Things like public security is a basic public good which has to be provided by government. It is for this function we have police services at the first place. Do we close police stations when something like this happens on behalf of police?

In cities like Bangalore (and several others) increasingly public goods are being provided/arranged by individuals/private entities.

  • People arrange for water by buying water from private water tankers
  • Garbage collection is being managed by small private players
  • Electricity supply being managed by running inverters
  • People are seen repairing road patches next to their houses etc by themselves (we need to figure ways to build complete roads as well)..
  • Feel free to add to this list…

And now this security bit too. Next time there is such attack in a bigger market place, are we going to close those markets as well accusing the shopkeepers for not protecting the shoppers? What is going on really? What is the role of government?


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