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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Consumer Price Index Numbers for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) June 2013

According to a press release issued today by the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour & Employment the All-India CPI-IW for June, 2013 rose by 3 points and pegged at 231 (two hundred and thirty one). On 1-month percentage change, it increased by 1.32 per cent between May and June compared with 0.97 per cent between the same two months a year ago. 

The largest upward pressure to the change in current index came from Food group contributing 2.98 percentage points to the total change. At item level, Rice, Fish Fresh, Eggs (Hen), Poultry (Chicken), Milk, Onion, Ginger, Chillies Green, Potato, Tomato & other Vegetables, Tea Leaf, Tea (Readymade), Bidi, Cigarette, Electricity Charges, Doctor’s fee, Medicine (Allopathic), Petrol, etc. are responsible for the rise in index. However, this was compensated by Wheat, Groundnut Oil and Mustard Oil putting downward pressure on the index. 

The year-on-year inflation measured by monthly CPI-IW stood at 11.06 per cent for June, 2013 as compared to 10.68 per cent for the previous month and 10.05 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year. Similarly, the Food inflation stood at 14.86 per cent against 13.24 per cent of the previous month and 10.45 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year. 

At centre level, Pune, Bhilai and Guntur recorded the highest increase of 8 points each followed by Jalpaiguri, Asansol, Mumbai, Bokaro, Siliguri and Kanpur (7 points each) and Warrangal and Vijaywada (6 points each). Among others, 5 points rise was registered in 9 centres, 4 points in 8 centres, 3 points in 12 centres, 2 points in 15 centres, and 1 point in 14 centres. On the contrary, a decline of 1 point each was recorded in Amritsar and Coimbatore centres. Rest of the 7 centres’ indices remained stationary. 

The indices of 39 centres are above All-India Index and other 38 centres’ indices are below national average. The index of Bhilwara centre remained at par with all-India index. 

The next index of CPI-IW for the month of July, 2013 will be released on Friday, 30 August, 2013. The same will also be available on the office website 

Source : PIB


Circle Union writes to Chief PMG and DPS ( BD ) protesting organization of RPLI Mela on Sundays in Bhubaneswar Division

K.C.PATNAIK                                                                                        RAMESH CH. MISHRA
President                                                                                                           Circle Secretary
Mob- 985332489
E-mail- p3orissa@rediff

No- UN/AIPEU, Gr-C/Odisha//07-2013,                                                           Dated-31-07-2013.

Sri S. K .Chakrabarti, IPoS.
Chief Post Master General,
            Odisha Circle, Bhubaneswar-751001.

Sri A.K. Singh, IPoS.
            Director (BD & Marketing),
O/O CPMG Odisha Circle,

Sub-    Protest against the proposal submitted by Bhubaneswar division for conductance of RPLI Mela on 18-08-2013 (Sunday) & 25-08-2013 (Sunday) in spite of clear cut orders from the Directorate not to conduct frequent Melas on Sundays & holidays-reg.

Respected Sir,

We have been intimated that SSPOs Bhubaneswar has recently submitted one proposal to Circle Office to conduct RPLI Mela on 18-08-2013 (Sunday) at Nimapara and on 25-08-2013 (Sunday) at Pipili. This is quite contrary to Directorate instructions issued time to time not to conduct frequent Melas on Sundays & holidays. This Circle union has also time and again brought to the kind notice regarding frequent organization of Melas in our Circle without following the DTE instructions in letter and spirit and has received very good response from our Circle authorities.
The Directorate, while instructed not to conduct frequent Melas, has emphasized on the weekly off which is very much required for staffs to come afresh to the duties.
It has been intimated to the circle union that the SSPOs discussed the matter with AIPEDEU, Bhubaneswar divisional branch only. If they are willing our Departmental staffs may kindly be exempted for attending the above Melas.
            On the circumstance, it is requested for rejection of the proposal submitted by SSPOs, Bhubaneswar division and issuance of instructions to hold RPLI Melas on working days to avoid strong resentment of staffs in Bhubaneswar division.
Kind response in the matter is solicited.

Yours faithfully,

Circle Secretary

Copy to- Com. B.Samal, Asst. Circle Secretary of Circle Union & Divisional Secretary AIPEU, Gr-C, Bhubaneswar division for information and necessary action.

Divisional Union writes to Circle Union for appraising Circle administration for immediate AMC of computers & peripherals.

Com. R C Mishra
Circle Secretary, AIPEU, Group-C, Odisha Circle
At: Postal Stores Depot, Bhubaneswar – 751 007

No. UN-BN/AIPEU-Gr.-C/ 09 - 07/2013,                    Dated at  Bhubaneswar the 31st  July, 2013

Sub:     No AMC of computers & peripherals in Head Quarters Region and of UPS for entire circle.

Dear Comrade,
You might be aware that due no AMC of computers and peripherals  ( server, nodes, pass book printers etc )  in head quarters region, the end users are suffering like anything  and huge amount is being spent on minor repairing and that too in a delayed manner which  is affecting both the efficiency  and goodwill of the Post Office inviting unnecessary resentments  from staff as well as customers’ side.
In the absence of AMC, now all Divisional heads in Odisha Circle have been directed by C O vide its letter No. TO/8-6/2010/Ch.I, dated 25.07.2013 ( scanned copy enclosed ) to undertake repairing work of computers & peripherals on call basis preferably through the suppliers / authorized service providers paying from the allotment given to the respective divisions.
This is just a temporary measure on one hand and heavy expenditure on the other which needs to be protested immediately demanding immediate AMC for all computers, nodes, servers, printers and UPS.
Hope, you will take up the issue at C O level immediately for early solution.
With greetings.

            Comradely yours,
Attached : As above.
( B Samal )

Divisional Secretary

Divisional Union writes to Circle Union to appraise the Circle administration to arrange shifting of CTO out of Bhubaneswar GPO building

Com. R C Mishra
Circle Secretary, AIPEU, Group-C & Vice-President, CHQ
At- Postal Stores Depot, Bhubaneswar – 751 007

No. UN-BN/AIPEU-Gr.-C/ 06 - 07/2013,                      Dated at Bhubaneswar the 21st July, 2013

Sub:     Shifting CTO out of Bhubaneswar GPO building

Dear Comrade,
As you are aware, we have already discussed this issue of shifting of CTO out of Bhubaneswar GPO building earlier.
During 2006 this union had discussed with the Divisional administration in this regard and as per our pursuance, the matter was subsequently discussed with the DPS (HQ) by the Circle Union on 04.09.2006. As replied by the DPS(HQ), this may not be possible unless BSNL surrenders voluntarily as per DoP / DoT directives.
It is worth mentioning here that, the original terms and conditions were initially signed with DoT and not with BSNL. In addition, after withdrawal of the telegram facility by the Govt. since 15.07.2013, the CTO is supposed to be kept vacant or the BSNL authorities may try to shift any other office to the building.
It is needless to reiterate that consequent upon Computerization, modernization,  opening of Financial Mart, National Speed Post Hub, Mass Mailing Centre, Mail Business Office, Philatelic Bureau, the Mail / Sorting / Delivery branches of Bhubaneswar GPO are functioning in a very cramped situation in the ground floor and the Mail Business Office has in the mean time been shifted to the old cycle stand of Circle office.
Thus additional space is barely required for Bhubaneswar GPO.
Therefore, the item may once again be brought to the notice of Circle administration to take necessary action for shifting CTO out of Bhubaneswar GPO Building  immediately to avail more space for smooth functioning of different branches.
With greetings.
Comradely yours,

B Samal.
Divisional Secretary

Divisional union protests organization of RPLI Mela on Sundays and seeks Circle Union interference

Com. R C Mishra
Circle Secretary, AIPEU, Group-C, Odisha Circle
At: Postal Stores Depot, Bhubaneswar – 751 007

No. UN-BN/AIPEU-Gr.-C/ 07 - 07/2013,                     Dated at  Bhubaneswar the 27th July, 2013

Sub:     Organizing RPLI Mela on working days.

Dear Comrade,
            It has come to the notice of this union that while Circle Office vide its letter No.  LI/Misc-2/09-10 Ch. IV , dated 23.07.2013 has instructed all SPOs/SSPOs  of head quarters region and two other regional heads to organize one RPLI Mela on 17th August 2013 (Saturday) with participation of all sales forces i.e. Direct Agents, Field Officers, Development Officers, Departmental Employees  and GDS who have been given code Nos. with participation of all sales forces i.e. Direct Agents, Field Officers, Development Officers, Departmental Employees  and GDS who have been given code Nos., Bhubaneswar Division has decided to  organize  two RPLI Melas i.e. one at Nimapara on 18th August, 2013 ( Sunday )and another at Pipli on 25th August, 2013 ( Sunday) which is not only a deviation to the Circle Office instructions but a deviation to the instructions  issued by the Secretary ( Posts ) time and again not to organize frequent Melas /Meetings on Sundays and Holidays since these are directly affecting the employees and their family members.
            As known to us, the above two programmes have been fixed by the SSPOs, Bhubaneswar after consultation with the Divisional Secretary of AIPEDEU, Bhubaneswar Divisional branch who has no objection in conducting such programmes on Sundays. The proposal of organizing two melas on Sundays instead of one on working day has been sent by the SSPOs, Bhubaneswar to Circle Office for approval on 25.07.2013 .
            But considering the plights of the departmental employees, especially Group-C staff members, we have every reason to object to organize the mela on Sundays. And as such, we have already registered our protest before the SSPOs, Bhubaneswar Division vide this Division Union letter No. , dated 27.07.2013 which is enclosed here with for reference.
            Since the above programme of the SSPOs, Bhubaneswar is yet to receive necessary approval of the Circle Office, you are requested to interfere in the matter and appraise the Circle administration to advise Bhubaneswar Division to organize PLI/RPLI melas on working days.

       With greetings.

            Comradely yours,

( B Samal )
Divisional Secretary
Protest Letter to SSPOs, Bhubaneswar  Division
The Senior Superintendent of Post Offices
Bhubaneswar Division, Bhubaneswar – 751 009

No. UN-BN/AIPEU-Gr.-C/ 06 - 07/2013,                    Dated at  Bhubaneswar the 27th July, 2013

Sub:     Organizing RPLI Mela on working days.

            It has come to the notice of this union that while Circle Office vide its letter No.  LI/Misc-2/09-10 Ch. IV , dated 23.07.2013 has instructed all SPOs/SSPOs  of head quarters region and two other regional heads to organize one RPLI Mela on 17th August 2013 (Saturday) with participation of all sales forces i.e. Direct Agents, Field Officers, Development Officers, Departmental Employees  and GDS who have been given code Nos. with participation of all sales forces i.e. Direct Agents, Field Officers, Development Officers, Departmental Employees  and GDS who have been given code Nos., Bhubaneswar Division has decided to  organize  two RPLI Melas i.e. one at Nimapara on 18th August, 2013 ( Sunday )and another at Pipli on 25th August, 2013 ( Sunday) which is not only a deviation to the Circle Office instructions but a deviation to the instructions  issued by the Secretary ( Posts ) time and again not to organize frequent Melas / Meetings on Sundays and Holidays since these are directly affecting the employees and their family members.
            It is worth mentioning here that recently two workshops were arranged successfully by the Circle Office on working days, i.e. PLI /RPLI workshop at Cuttack on 20.07.2013 (Saturday) and Change Management Workshop on 22.07.2013 ( Monday) and 23.07.2013 (Tuesday) at Bhubaneswar. Accordingly, the present RPLI Mela and subsequently proposed if any can be arranged on any working days to which we have no right to object in any manner.
            We may not commit a mistake in suggesting the SSPOs that motivation in a well designed manner realizing and addressing the employees’ difficulties can earn more revenue and achieve targets but not compulsion. Now we are in such trends where motivation supersedes compulsion. We are not opposing in any manner to suspend any programme(s) of the Department that will take us towards our goal but just suggesting to reschedule it so that employees will be encouraged to participate in the same of their own accord. Rather, we are in favour of arranging frequent Melas on working days in small groups instead of a huge one continuously on Sundays/Holidays.
            Therefore, we would like to request the SSPOs for cancelling the above programmes and fix it on 17.08.2013 as already ordered by the Circle Office and may also organize such other programmes as frequently as it can be on working days only for which we assure him to provide all cooperation for the welfare of both the employees and the Department as well.
            Expecting a line of reply on the action taken in this regard.

        With regards.
                                                            Yours faithfully,

( B Samal )
Divisional Secretary

Trai proposes amending complaint norms, soon report high mobile bills through sms

NEW DELHI: Mobile phone users will soon be able to file complaints against problems such as poor network coverage or inflated bills through text messages, email, regular post or couriers apart from the existing ways of lodging complaints with operators. Making it easier for consumers to lodge complaints, telecom regulator Trai asked telecom service providers to make these systems available. 

Trai proposed this amendment in complaint norms on July 30, adding that customers be allowed to appeal before the Appellate Authority, the top body in customer grievance redressal, after customer care and nodal officers has not been able to resolve problem faced by customers. 

Trai has proposed these changes after conducting customer outreach programs in 20 cities. It also received representations from consumers and consumer organisations that the information about Appellate Authority was not easily accessible to consumers. Direct access to appellate authority was proposed after Trai noticed that the top body was not receiving any appeals in spite of a large number of unresolved complaints at the lower levels. Views of stakeholders have been invited on this draft proposal by August 14. 

Trai had refurbished its customer redressal norms in January last year after a gap of five years, when it made it compulsory for all telcos to set up complaint centres with toll free consumer care numbers that may be accessed from any service provider's network. Operators were also mandated to set up a web-based complaint monitoring system through which consumers can track their complaints. The directive also enabled customers to call the complaint centre of their respective operators for no charge, freeing them from average payments of 50 paise for every three minute call to customer care. 

Customers could also use a website to monitor their complaints and locate customer care and general information numbers of different telecoms firms. For those consumers who want to file complaints, contact details of appellate authority set up by service providers will also be available at the portal. The changes allowed for better and faster resolution to consumers' telecom problems.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Little-known tax deductions you might have missed while filing returns

Paying more tax than is due is bad enough. It's worse if you don't even know you have overpaid and are eligible for a refund. Many youngsters are not conversant with tax rules and fail to fully utilise the deductions available to them.

Tax filing portal studied last year's returns and found that nearly 51 per cent of salaried taxpayers had not fully used the tax-saving limit under Section 80C. Only one of the four taxpayers had claimed the full deduction for health insurance under Section 80D.

Here are some little-known deductions available to taxpayers. Make sure you claim them when you file your returns this year. If you have already done so, you can file a revised one to claim the deduction you missed.

1. Home loan repayment under Section 80C

If you are paying a hefty home loan EMI, chances are that you will find it difficult to put money in tax-saving options. Take heart. While the interest paid on the home loan is deductible under Section 24b, even the principal portion gets you tax benefits under Section 80C.

This is a godsend for taxpayers, who have not been able to exhaust their Rs 1 lakh saving limit under Section 80C because of the home loan EMI. The deduction for the interest paid on a home loan is capped at Rs 1.5 lakh only in case of a self-occupied house. If you have bought a second house for investment and have rented it out, the entire interest during a given year can be claimed as a deduction. This brings down the effective rate of borrowing for the buyer.

2. 30 per cent standard deduction of rental

If you let out your house, the rent is added to your income and taxed at the normal rate applicable to you. However, there is a 30 per cent standard deduction from this income. So, if you receive a rent of Rs 10,000 per month, the total rent for the year would be Rs 1.2 lakh. Of this, Rs 36,000 would be the standard deduction and you will have to pay tax only on Rs 84,000.

3. Carry forward and adjust capital losses

Certain short-term or long-term capital losses you made during the year can be adjusted against other gains. If you lost money in stocks, equity funds or gold last year, you can set off the loss against short-term capital gains or taxable long-term capital gains from the sale of property, gold or debt funds. If you are unable to adjust the entire loss, you can carry it forward for up to eight financial years.

Suppose you lost Rs 80,000 in stocks and gold funds in 2012-13 and managed to adjust Rs 30,000 against gains from debt funds. You can carry forward the unadjusted loss of Rs 50,000 and keep doing so against other gains till 2020-21. However, you can adjust only short-term losses from stocks and equity funds in this manner. If you have held the stocks and funds for more than one year, the losses cannot be adjusted.

Also, one cannot set off short-term gains from stocks against long-term capital losses from other assets. However, both short-term and long-term losses from other assets, such as gold, property and debt funds, can be adjusted. The taxpayers who earned capital gains from fixed maturity plans (FMPs) and debt funds will find this particularly useful.

4. Use indexation for long-term gains

Do you know you can use inflation to bring down your tax? The indexation benefit can be used to adjust the buying price of an asset to the inflation during the period of holding. If this sounds Greek to you, here's an example.

Suppose you invested Rs 2 lakh in an FMP, in March 2010, and got Rs 2.8 lakh when the plan matured in March 2013. You will have to pay 10 per cent tax on the Rs 80,000 earned as capital gain. However, if you take the indexation route, the 35 per cent inflation during the holding period will adjust your buying price upwards to Rs 2.7 lakh. Even though the gain of Rs 10,000 will be taxed at a higher rate of 20 per cent, the overall tax will be only Rs 2,000, compared with the Rs 8,000 payable, if you were to take the flat 10 per cent option.

Calculating the tax according to the indexation option requires a bit of math, but can be very rewarding.

5. Medical insurance of parents

The premium of your health insurance policy is deductible up to Rs 15,000 under Section 80D. However, you are eligible for an additional deduction of Rs 15,000 if you have insured your parents as well. If even one of them is a senior citizen, the limit of deduction is even higher at Rs 20,000.

6. Illness and disability

If you have a dependant, who suffers from any of the diseases specified under Section 80DDB, you can claim a deduction of Rs 40,000. The deduction is higher at Rs 60,000 if the patient is a senior citizen. The diseases include, neurological ones (dementia, dystonia musculorum deformans, motor neuron disease, ataxia, chorea, hemiballismus, aphasia and Parkinson's disease), malignant cancers, full-blown AIDS, chronic kidney failure and haematological disorders (haemophilia and thalassaemia). Dependants can include spouse, children, parents and siblings.

However, the patient should be wholly or mainly dependent on the taxpayer and should not have separately claimed any sum from an insurance company for the illness. Similarly, if a taxpayer suffers from a disability, he can claim deduction of Rs 75,000 under Section 80U. If he has a disabled dependant, he can claim the deduction under Section 80DD.

Disability includes blindness, low vision, leprosy, hearing impairment, loco-motor disability, mental retardation and mental illness. A minor disability won't get any tax benefits; the disability should be at least 40 per cent. If the disability is over 80 per cent, the deduction is Rs 1 lakh.

Step-by-step guide to file your income tax return online

ET provides a step-by-step guide to help you file tax returns electronically before the July 31 deadline using the official website of the I-T dept or private sites.

July 31, the last day to file income tax returns, is almost here. Sure, you can file returns even after that, but it comes with complications. So, don't count on it.

If you earn above Rs 5 lakh, you have to file returns electronically this year. That means you can file your returns even in the last two days from your home computer. You can seek the help of a professional or do it yourself by using the official website of the Income-Tax department or a host of private websites.

Before we proceed to how to use these portals effectively , let us address a major source of ambiguity this year regarding the applicability of forms ITR-1 and ITR-2 to salaried individuals or pensioners with one house property and interest income. Tax consultants are divided on the interpretation of new provision on exempt income , introduced this year.

According to this provision, those with exempt income exceeding Rs 5,000 cannot file their return using ITR-1 (Sahaj). While some feel that all salaried individuals who have tax-exempt income like House Rent Allowance (HRA), Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) and transport allowance have to use ITR-2 this year, others argue that they can continue to use the much simpler ITR-1 (Sahaj).

"My view is that the exempt income here refers to sources like dividends and not tax-free salary components like HRA and conveyance allowance," explains Divya Baweja, senior director at Deloitte in India. The Income-Tax department is yet to issue a clarification on the matter.

Using the official website

Before you start the process, keep your bank statements, Form 16 issued by your employer and a copy of last year's return at hand. Next, log on to www.incometaxindiaefiling Follow these steps:

Step1: Register yourself on the website. Your Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be your user ID.

Step2:View your tax credit statement — Form 26AS — for the financial year 2012-13 . The statement will reflect the taxes deducted by your employer actually deposited with the I-T department. The TDS as per your Form 16 must tally with the figures in Form 26AS. If you file the return despite discrepancies, if any, you could get a notice from the I-T department later.

Step 3: Under the 'Download' menu, click on Income Tax Return Forms and choose AY 2013-14 (for financial year 2012-13 ). Download the Income Tax Return (ITR) form applicable to you. If your exempt income exceeds Rs 5,000, the appropriate form will be ITR-2 . If the applicable form is ITR-1 or ITR 4S, you can complete the process on the portal itself, by using the 'Quick e-file ITR' link.

Step 4: Open the downloaded Return Preparation Software (excel utility) and complete the form by entering all the details , using your Form 16.

Step 5: Ascertain the tax payable by clicking the 'Calculate Tax' tab. Pay tax (if applicable) and enter the challan details in the tax return.

Step 6: Confirm all the information in the worksheet by clicking the 'Validate' tab.

Step 7: Proceed to generate an XML file and save it on your computer.

Step 8: Go to 'Upload Return' on the portal's left panel and upload the saved XML file after selecting 'AY 2013-2014 ' and the relevant form. You will be asked whether you wish to digitally sign the file. If you have obtained a DS (digital signature), select Yes. Or, choose 'No'.

Step 9: Once the website flashes the message about successful e-filing on your screen, you can consider the process to be complete. The acknowledgment form — ITR—Verification (ITR-V ) will be generated and you can download it.

Step 10: Take a printout of the form ITR-V , sign it preferably in blue ink, and send it only by ordinary or Speed post to the Income-Tax Department-CPC , Post Bag No-1 , Electronic City Post Office, Bangalore - 560 100, Karnataka, within 120 days of filing your return online.

Through private portals

As mentioned earlier, you can use the services of several websites to file their returns online. Typically, these portals charge a fee depending on the service level on offer. The basic variant typically costs around Rs 250-300.

"There are two ways in which a return can be filed through our website. Users can either prepare and file income-tax return on their own or avail of assisted filing service. In case of the latter, a chartered accountant will interact with them and also prepare and file their return," explains Saakar Yadav, director of Unlike the official website, the steps to file returns via these portals are not uniform.

EPFO must give Priority to timely Settlement of Claims for Provident Fund- Sis Ram Ola

Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Sis Ram Ola has emphasized that the Employee Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) must give priority to timely settlement of claims for provident fund. In a meeting with the senior officers of EPFO the minister has also emphasized that due to improvement and availability of technology, the citizen rightly expects efficient and transparent mechanism in its settlement of claims. EPFO has a mandate to settle all the claims within 30 days of its receipt. 

It was brought to the notice of the Minister that the Employee Provident Fund Organization receives receives on an average 12.74 lakh applications for settlement every month. It is expected during the current financial year, 152.87 lakh claim settlements will be received. Due to consistent monitoring the number of claims pending for settlement beyond 30 days has reduced from 12,702 as on 03-07-2013 to only 5268 as on 26-07-2013. Efforts are being made even to bring down this number. 

EPFO has reported that on 03-07-2013, out of 120 offices of EPFO, 60% of claims were settled within 3 days of its receipt in as many as 20 offices. This month 3 new offices have also started processing more than 60% of the claims settled within 3 days. 3 new offices which could achieve this milestone are EPFO offices at Mysore Road, Surat & Bharuch. 

Accordingly, Shri Ola noted with satisfaction that the pace of settlement of claims has increased by more than 10% in as many as 27 of the offices. 

Minister has also appreciated that in some of the offices, each staff is settling more than 20 claims per day. The offices at Noida & Gurgaon Top the list of the efficiency in terms of No. of disposal per staff. In each of these offices, 27 claims are being settled by each staff every day. Settlement of claim is one of the many responsibilities with the staff of EPFO. 
Source : PIB

Extension of RTI web portal for online filling of RTI application.

SAP to provide IT platform for India’s post office network

India’s Department of Posts has selected German software firm SAP AG to supply a new IT platform for its retail outlets.
SAP says supplying its software for more than 155,000 post offices across India will mean faster and more efficient services for citizens, government and business.
The deal with India Post means the company now provides more than 30 postal customers with the SAP solution to provide more effective customer-facing processes, the company said.
“SAP postal services customers are leveraging the latest technology to transform their business, from improving efficiency in back-office and core processes to creating new lines of operations within their existing infrastructure,” said Hans G. Landgraf, head of Business Segment Postal, SAP AG.
“With our experience, SAP is eager to help India’s Department of Posts improve its business and increase transparency across its organization in order to meet the changing demands of its customers.”
As the backbone of India’s communication for over 150 years, the Department of Posts plays a crucial role in the socioeconomic development of the nation.
Urbanization, increased demand for financial services and increased funding by the government for the weaker sections and the rural sector have opened up new opportunities for the Department of Posts and necessitated the development of new processes as well as supporting technology, SAP said.


Armed with a transformation charter that includes a complete overhaul of operations under an IT modernization project, India Post will make use of SAP applications including SAP ERP, SRP Customer Relationship Management and SAP Supply Chain Management.
As the DoP generates revenue of more than EUR1.1 billion while employing nearly 474,000 employees, it will also implement SAP solutions for streamlining internal processes in the areas of human resources, payroll processing and finance and accounts, the company said.
In addition to running core and back-office operations, SAP Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, SAP Sybase IQ software, SAP BusinessObjects solutions and SAP Data Services software will offer the DoP the data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) needed for its entire operations system.
The Indian government also intends to use the DoP’s vast network for its direct cash transfer function, which aims to reduce leakages, cut down corruption, eliminate middlemen, target beneficiaries better and speed up transfer of benefits to eligible individuals. Workers across India, especially those in rural areas, will be able to reap the gains from the direct benefits transfer (DBT) leveraging their existing savings accounts in post offices.
Today, the DoP delivers more than 6bn items every year through its elaborate network of offices. The reengineering of business process using SAP solutions will enable the DoP to increase its engagement with the Indian population through more customer interaction channels.
SAP software will help the organization improve automation of core processes including postal counter automation, track and trace, logistics post, e-commerce and customer interaction channel, the software company said.

Don’t Bank On That Idea

Late in the evening of July 1, a press release from the Reserve Bank of India created quite a to-do. In a rare display of transparency, the central bank disclosed the names of all 26 applicants who had queued up for a bank licence. While most of the names were expected, one unusual applicant stood out—the department of posts. Predictably, most newspaper columnists and commentators have commended this move. The acclaim and approval for the postal department’s future bank springs primarily from its one (and probably only) redeeming physical attribute—its enormous reach. According to India Post’s annual report for 2012-13, India has over 1.54 lakh post offices, of which close to 90 per cent are in rural areas. That makes it the world’s largest postal network.

This is a gigantic achievement. What’s more, given RBI’s unambiguous stipulation that new licences will be granted on the basis of the applicant’s plans for financial inclusion, a new bank for the postal department seems like a nap bet. Its rural network presents the best financial-inclusion platform among all applicants.

But in realistic terms, it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank of India will grant a licence on the strength of the network alone. There are other drag factors. For one, questions can be raised about staffing. As on March 31, 2012, the postal department had 4,74,574 people on its rolls. Second, the central bank could allocate negative marks for the department’s financial health. The 2012-13 annual report put the department’s 2011-12 losses at Rs 5,806 crore. In 2010-11, it was Rs 6,345 crore. Ironically, operational expenses (Rs 8,720 crore) overshadowed the revenue receipts of Rs 7,899 crore. Sure, the government fills the gap every year, but that might not stop the Reserve Bank of India from asking questions about who’ll stump up capital for the bank year after year.

Third, most of the department’s products and services are priced way below cost. And, given the political sensitivities, it is unlikely prices can be raised. This can be a source of continuing anxiety for the central bank. There are many other reasons for RBI to look askance—state of technology, operational processes, skill sets. One justification trotted out is the assumed success of the postal savings and insurance schemes. The department is the custodian of a humongous Rs 6,05,697 crore in people’s savings. But the net annual loss  might induce the Reserve Bank of India to raise reasonable doubts about the security and efficient handling of savings.

The central question is: does India Post need to reinvent itself? The answer is: certainly. What shape could that take? The rural network, for instance, could turn itself into the country’s largest banking correspondent network. Second, it has the best database on Indians and could leverage that to provide authentication of KYC services. The postal department is one of India’s best institutions and it can definitely reinvent itself in a million different, and sustainable, ways. But a bank?
By : Rajrishi Singhal, Source :

Will Pin Codes Bring Profits?

For A dak bank...
  • It has a large rural network of 1,39,040 village post offices
  • Has accepted deposits for decades—Rs 6.18 lakh crore in 2011
  • Has established the trust of people, thanks to government backing
  • South Africa and Japan have run successful post office banks
  • Modest rollout plans, claims it’ll hire the best professional managers
...And Against It
  • The post office has never managed the deposits it collects; FinMin does.
  • The existing employees will resent outsiders—potential culture clash
  • New construction etc needed to make post offices bank-ready
  • Rural postal network manned by 1 lakh underpaid non-regular staffers
  • Could face recovery issues, given the perception it’s an arm of government
Jawaharlal Saha is one of India’s 40,000 postmen. Every day, he cycles with a payload of letters through the Mandi House area, in the bustling centre of Delhi. “On some days, the mail weighs 40 kilos. I might cycle around for say, five hours, and make repeat visits for Speedpost deliveries,” Saha says. Like other postmen, he sorts some mail, hawks insurance, sells stamps and pit­ches for the PO’s savings bank—tasks, he says, city postmen rarely have time for.

Saha’s busy schedule is not exceptional. Over the past decade,  the postal service has delivered lesser and lesser mail. It delivered 1,400 crore postcards, letters, newspapers, parcels and packets in 2001. This dropped to 660 crore in 2011, as private couriers captured the field. Simultaneously, the post office’s workforce dipped 30 per cent, from over 6 lakh to under 5 lakh. Its losses are roughly Rs 6,000 crore.

“We have really worked on our proposal, and we are hoping to get in-principle cabinet clearance for it. But I can’t say when.”Kapil Sibal, Union Communications Minister

That’s why, about a fortnight ago, the department of posts delivered its biggest package ever­—a proposal to raise a bank, which is now under the Union cabinet’s consideration. Along with 25 corporate heavyweights, financial institutions and brokerage firms, the department of posts has thrown in its weight—and, many say, its fate. Backed by Union communications minister Kapil Sibal, this is part of the government’s three-pronged strategy: a government-run postal system to ‘regulate’ the sector; a public-private-partnership (PPP) model to develop its vacant land; and, crucially, the post office bank.

Six years ago, the department had suggested its transformation into a bank, but that wasn’t cleared by the Reserve Bank of India. At the time, India was not looking to approve new banks. This time around, there’s been a warm reception, with newspaper editorials giving the proposal a thumbs-up, citing its national reach and emotional connect with the people. But is that sufficient to make for a viable bank?

“The proposal is a very well-planned-out effort,” says Ashvin Parekh, partner and national leader, financial services, Ernst & Young. The global consulting firm was appointed by the postal department five years ago to suggest a revival plan. It suggested the setting up of a new company, the ‘Post Bank of India’. “Postal services are shrinking and finding it very difficult to fund their work, and face private sector competition. They have, however, achieved efficiency in small savings, which the proposal hopes to leverage,” he says.

“Postal services find it hard to fund their work. But they are efficient with small savings, and the proposal leverages this.”Ashvin Parekh, Partner, Ernst & Young
Here’s the logic: all but 176 of India’s 1,54,866 post offices already provided financial services in 2011, and they have a great deal of trust-winning emotional appeal. For its various savings bank and certificate schemes, the postal department had a balance of Rs 6.2 lakh-crore in 2011, up from Rs 5.6 lakh-crore in 2007. “The popularity of financial products such as PPF and postal savings does not seem to have waned,” says S. Madhavan, a Delhi-based consultant, until recently a senior partner with PwC.

So far, post offices take deposits and hand over receipts. End of story. The finance ministry uses this money to fund the deficit or other projects. If the Post Bank of India is approved, post offices will start handing out loans, not just postcards. “There is no negative for investors if the post office opens a bank. They will benefit from streamlining,” says Calcutta-based financial planner Brijesh Dalmia. As a bank, the post office will have to follow KYC norms and conduct due diligence even on rural sources of funds.

There are precedents: South Africa has a post office bank, Japan has one. “Are there global examples of postal services becoming banks successfully? Yes. Is the task easy? No. In between these lies the truth,” says Neeraj Agg­arwal, a partner with Boston Consulting Group. He says the department’s wide reach and the fact that it has historically accepted deposits are its assets.

“The banking plan is in line with the idea of privatising the postal deparment, an essential service, through the PPP model.”D. Raja, CPI MP

That said, it’s a long trek. “The rollout plans are, accordingly, modest,” says Parekh. Initially, no more than 50 to 200 post offices will become banks every year. So, for most Indians, the post office next door—there is one within 2.6 km of everyone—won’t transform overnight. Besides, only 24,100 post offices were computerised by 2011. “Core banking”, in which deposits show up on the ledgers instantly, is still a work in progress.

To be an effective asset manager, says N. Srinivasan, a Pune-based consultant who has worked with nabard and RBI, the post office will have to learn how to invest money, give loans to factories and village folk. It will also face an onerous task: collections. “Setting up a bank will prove a challenge. Today, people feel postal deposits are government deposits. Will this perception last when it becomes a bank? It’s to be seen,” he says.

The department will need Rs 500 crore to capitalise the bank, and as much more to hire staff­ (they propose bringing in a management team from the private sector), upgrade technology and train people. As 40 per cent of urban and 60 per cent of rural Indians are “unb­anked”, clients are expected to line up.

Given the enormous hold of the post, there are detractors, of course. CPI MP D. Raja says the banking plan basically ties in with the department’s effort to privatise this essential service. “The land and building development of postal department and all its services are being given a PPP push. In fact, this is an essential service and the government should see it in that light,” he says.

What could be equally troubling is that 89 per cent of the post offices’ mail delivery is handled by gramin dak sevaks, an agitated lot who are demanding pensions and salaries on par with postmen. Over 1 lakh post offices are “extra-departmental”—that is, the dak sevaks own the premises and get a pittance, if at all, as rent. S.S. Mahadevaiah, general secretary, All-India Postal Extra-Departmental Employees Union, says, “The department doesn’t have bank management experience, so it will hire outsiders. Recovery will be handed to us. If these E-D post offices become banks, the rent of Rs 100 (paid only to some) amounts to nothing.”

Like Saha, the dak sevaks regularly multi-task, collecting price-related inf­­o­rmation, managing NREGA acco­unts, hawking financial products and so on,  usually getting a small “incentive” payment. In this way, the postman himself has been reinvented. The Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation had roped in dak sevaks to collect commodity prices in 2010. “After initial glitches, the data flow has been smooth and useful for us,” says T.C.A. Anant, secretary in the ministry and India’s chief statistician.

Post office employees hope they will be part of the big new banking plans. So far, there are murmurs of training and rollout of handheld devices. Clearly, the bank won’t replace the post office just yet. But change is in the mail.