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Friday, May 22, 2015

Post Bank of India may be dream as yet, but “imposters” wouldn’t wait

By Dinesh Unnikrishnan  May 21, 2015 10:42 IST

 The proposed Post Bank of India (PBI), the long cherished dream of the India Post, is still a work in progress for the department since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is yet to give its nod for the plan, but “imposters” are already active on internet to project the proposed bank.

A website/blog with URL,, is one such. Though the creator/s of the website carries a disclaimer denying any direct linkages with the government of India or the postal department, the URL and the content appears focused on everything concerned Post Bank, including the latest progress of the project.
A screen grab of the website

The author profile of the blog carries tag lines such as “building future bank” and “Know the strength of India Post”. The blog also gives an option to register with “Post Bank”, to get the latest news and developments of PBI and the department’s preparations to ramp up its network to offer banking services.

When contacted, a senior official of the postal department too denied any connection with the website/blog. “These are imposters. We have asked them to change the name,” the official said. Firstpost couldn’t contact the creators of the blog immediately.

India Post is one among the applicants to set up a payments bank. The RBI is currently in the process of finalising the list of payments banks from a list of 41 contenders. These include industrial houses such as Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd, Airtel, Sun pharma founder Dilip Shanghvi, Tech Mahindra among others. Payments can offer basic banking services but cannot venture into credit operations.

In December last year, a task force set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the operations of India's postal department has mooted the creation of a full-fledged postal bank. The panel is headed by former cabinet secretary, TSR Subramanian and comprising of experts that includes former Infosys board member TV Mohandas Pai.

The recommendations will be submitted to the government soon, according to a government official in the know of the development. In fact, the task force has recommended to launch the proposed Post Bank through an Act of the Parliament and not by approaching the RBI.

But since any legislation to this effect is a time taking process, the department went ahead with its application to set up a payments bank given the limited time-frame offered by the central bank to apply. The department wants to convert its operations to a full fledged bank at a later stage.

Even though the postal department has been trying to begin banking operations for long, the finance ministry had opposed the plan all along saying the department lacks the expertise to handle complex banking business, mainly credit operations.
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