Saturday, November 19, 2011

Changing face of Indian Post

Alkesh Tyagi/ New Delhi

Along with its mandated obligation of delivering mails, it also provides the necessary infrastructure for providing economic activities…

Discarding its traditional image India Post is emerging as a socially committed, technology driven and forward looking organization. The huge network of 1, 55,015 Post Offices across India of which 1, 39,144 are in rural areas is the largest postal network in the world. India Post has so far introduced 850 franchised outlets to cater to the demand where it is not possible to open departmental post offices. This network not only helps meet the social obligation of providing essential postal services to all citizens but also provides the necessary infrastructure for providing economic activities in these areas. Progressive use of computers and thus connected network of post offices on a single integrated platform presents an opportunity to India Post to retail products and services of other service providers.
Changed mail profile has substantially increased volume of mail in Business-to-Customer and Business-to-Business segments. Changing economic scenario has enhanced expectations of common man in terms of services and facilities. The Governments and corporate sector have decided to use credibility and huge network of India Post to reach out to the masses.
Some of the services being rendered through post offices are: National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) -The Department of Posts has been given the responsibility to disburse the wages to NREGS beneficiaries through Post Office Savings Bank account. Starting with Andhra Pradesh Postal Circle in 2006, the payment of wages under NREGS is currently operational in 19 Postal Circles comprising 21 States. The scheme is operational through 1, 00,000(one lakh) post offices. Nearly 4.9 crore(5.04) NREGS accounts have been opened up to March 2011(July2011), and the amount disbursed in this financial year (20010-11) alone amounts to Rs. 7300 crore.
The India Post has tied up with State Bank of India to sell its assets and liability products through identified post offices. Initially, the scheme was started in five states; the scheme was later extended to 23 States and Union Territories. The total number of different kinds of accounts opened is 1.04 lakhs and total assets sold up to Rs.17 crores.
The Department of Posts in collaboration with NABARD is providing the facility of micro-credit to Self Help Groups (SHGs) through identified post offices on agency basis. The corpus fund for implementing this project is given by NABARD. The pilot is in operation in five districts involving seven divisions of Tamil Nadu Circle. The revolving fund assistance has been raised to Rs.3 crores. There are 1200 SHGs benefitting from the scheme.
As a tie-up with Reliance Money Limited, sale of gold coins has been launched in October 2008 in selected post offices. Scheme is available in 672 Post Offices in 21 States.
Old Age Pension is being paid through 20 lakh Post Office Savings accounts in Bihar, Delhi, Jharkhand and North East, and through Money Order in J&K, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.
The Department of Posts has been assisting other public authorities under the Central Government in implementing the Right to Information Act (RTI) by providing services of its designated Central Assistant Public Information Officers (CAPIOs). Sub Post Masters at Tehsil level act as the CAPIO for accepting RTI requests and appeals. The Department has designated 4000 Post offices as receipt points for RTI applications and forwarding to public authorities. An RTI software has been got developed to deal with such applications.
The scheme for sale of railway tickets through post offices is presently operative at 170 locations, and will be extended to rural areas also.
Ministry of Statistics and program implementation (MOSPI) has entrusted the job of collecting statistics for ascertaining the Rural Price Index from 1183 post offices across the country with effect from October 2009. Branch Post masters collect prices of 185 to 292 commodities on fixed week days. The data so collected is electronically transmitted to MOSPI. Department of Posts has earned revenue of Rs. 7.33 crores from this activity.
Department of Posts is striving to provide complete solution for delivering the Unique Identification Number to all the residents in the country. The Department of Posts with its vast network of post offices is the only organization in the country that can provide an end to end comprehensive solution to the requirements of the UIDAI in this regard. The mandate of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is to provide a Unique Identification Number to each and every resident of the country.
Courtesy: PIB Feature

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