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Friday, October 12, 2012

India has Largest Postal Network in World

The Department of Posts has been the backbone of India’s communication network and core of the country’s socio-economic development for the last 150 years.  It has touched the lives of every citizen, be it through mail, banking, insurance, money transfer or retail services.  India has the largest postal network in the world with 1,54,866 post offices as on March 31, 2011 of which 1,39,040 (89.78 per cent) are in the rural areas.  On an average, a post office serves an area of 21.23 sq. km and a population of 7,814 people (5992 in rural areas and 23828 in urban areas).
The core activity of the Department is processing, transmission and delivery of mail which is collected from more than 5.7 lakh letter boxes, processed by network of mail offices and conveyed by rail, road and airlines all over the country. Considering the vital need for providing benefits of technology to customers, counter operations are now being progressively computerized to provide a greater range of services to the customer from a single window leading to prompt and effort free services.

Mail Volume

The Department of Posts  handled 177.9 million registered letters, 6157.6  million unregistered mail traffic and 281 million Premium Products (speed post and express parcel post) during the year 2010-2011.
 Mail Network Optimization Project (MNOP)
As part of the Plan schemes, the Department has undertaken Mail Network Optimization Project to improve the quality of mail procession, transmission and delivery.  The project seeks to optimize the existing mail network of Department of Posts with a view to streamline core mail operations.   It also seeks to bring in greater standardization and improvement in the operational processes relating to mail processing, transmission and delivery.
            In the first phase, Speed Post has been covered and in the subsequent phases first and second class mail operations would be covered.  It seeks to improve the quality of mail operations.
 Setting up of Automated Mail Processing Centres (AMPCs)
The Department has a proposal to set up Automated Mail Processing Centres in the metro cities with a view to automate mail sorting.   The letter sorting machines would be able to sort about 35000 articles per hour, whereas, the Mixed Mail Sorters would sort about 16000 articles per hour.  The Mixed Mail sorting machines would help in faster processing of large size letters, packets and parcels through the use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
Automation in mail processing would also help the Department in modernization of mail network and consolidation of sorting activities in these cities.  The sorting machines in Delhi and Kolkata are under installation and commissioning.
 Creation of National Address Data Base Management System
Under this project, the Department has taken an initiative to put in place a National Address Database Management System with an objective to effectively manage the address database of public customers, update the addresses online, and help customers in locating correct addresses.  The project has been completed in Delhi and Kolkata where address data up to street level has been collected and street directory prepared.
Project Arrow
 It envisages upgradation of post offices in urban and rural areas, both in terms of urgradation and enhancing the quality of service in ‘core areas’ and improving their ‘look and feel’.  The project aims at creating a conducive and friendly work environment both for the staff and customers visiting post offices, providing all IT - Enabled Services through secure connectivity, improving the service quality levels in the core business areas, e.g. mail delivery, remittances, both electronic and manual, and postal savings schemes.  The ‘look and feel’ activity focuses on improvement in branding, information technology, human resource and infrastructure.
            So far the project has been implemented in respect of monitoring of core areas in more than 15,500 post offices and ‘look and feel’ has been improved in 1,530 post offices.  The Department of Posts received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration for the year 2008-09 for “Project Arrow-Transforming India Post” on April 21, 2010.  In 2011-12, ‘look and feel’ component was implemented in 229 more post offices.

 Business Development and Marketing

It has introduced a number of business products and services such as speed post, express parcel post, business post, bill mail, e-Post, etc.  to meet the demands of India’s growing economy, especially the service sector.  The Business Development and Marketing Directorate was set in 2004-05 to provide a sharper focus on marketing.  The Directorate now has a Speed Post and Marketing Division and a Business Products  Division.

Retail Post

With the introduction of Retail Post, India Post is leveraging the vast network of more than 150,000 post offices across India.  Services under Retail Post include collection of electricity bills, telephone bills, taxes and fees.  Application forms of State Public Service Commission, UPSC, universities and various educational institutions etc. are sold through the postal network.  Apart from this, sale of gold coins, railway tickets, forex, retailing of products through mail order service and address verification for telecom and gas companies are being done too.
An MoU was signed with National Stock Exchange for installation LCD TVs in select post offices for creating “financial awareness” among the public.
During 2011-12 (April 2011 to December 2011), 1.3 million railway tickets were issued through 179 post offices and network.
Financial Services
The Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) is the oldest and largest banking institution in the country.  It operates more than 238 million saving accounts in more than 154000 post offices.  These schemes are an agency function performed by the Department of Posts on behalf of the Finance Department of India.  Through the network, the Post Office Saving Bank provides an Avenue to people all over the country to deposit their savings in various schemes.  Its reach and service is unparalleled  by any other banking agency in the country.  The Ministry of Finance  remunerates Department of Posts for the savings bank work at a rate fixed from time to time.
Eight Savings Schemes are operated from post offices across the country.  The outstanding balance under all National Savings Schemes is Rs.6189.26 million as on March 31, 2011.
10-year National Savings Certificate (IX issue)
The new scheme was introduced on December 1,2011 which carried interest of 8.7  per cent compounded six monthly but payable at maturity.  There is a provision for getting income tax rebate under Section 80 C of Income Tax Act.  The interest accruing annually but deemed to be reinvested will also qualify for tax rebate.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA)
Starting with Andhra Pradesh Circle in 2005,  the scheme of disbursement of MGNREGA wages through post office accounts is currently operational in 19 postal circles (except Delhi, J&K and Tamilnadu  circles).  As on December 30, 2011, nearly 53.5 million MGNREGA accounts have been opened in post offices. 
 Collection of Data for Computing Rural Consumer Price Indices
Data for rural CPI is collected for 1181 villages every month.  The branch post masters concerned collect prices of 185 to 292 commodities from the local market on the weeks fixed for each village.
Postal Life Insurance (PLI)
It caters to employees of the civil and  military personnel of the Central and State governments, local bodies, government aided educational institutions, universities, nationalized banks, autonomous institutions, public sector undertakings.  Rural Postal  Life Insurance (RPLI) scheme benefits rural populace.  On an average there are 46,86,245  policies under PLI and sum assured is Rs.640,778 million.  There are 1,22,03,345 policies under RPLI worth Rs.661,322.3 million.


A total of 61 stamps in 43 issues comprising commemorative/special postage stamps were released in 2011.
Financial Management
The total revenue earned, including remuneration for savings bank and sale of cash certificates work, in 2010-2011 was Rs. 69623.32 million and the amount received from other ministries/departments as agency charges (recoveries) was Rs.4857.21 million.  Gross working expenditure for 2010-2011 was Rs.137963.69 million (i.e. an increase of about 3.35 per cent).  The increase was mainly due to payment of dearness allowance/dearness relief and payment of pensionary charges etc.  In spite of the increase in salaries and pensionary charges, deficit of the Department was Rs. 63456.16  million as against the previous year (2009-2010)  deficit of Rs.66413.04 million.
The postal articles like postcard, printed postcard, inland letter, letter registered newspapers-single, registered newspapers-bundles, book post (book patron and sample packets), book post (printed books), book post (other periodicals), acknowledgement, registration, speed post, value payable post, money order and Indian Postal Order are highly subsidized by the department.
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