aipeu puri

aipeu puri

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Com. Samal writes in the national English daily "The Pioneer" on the eve of National Postal Week


Wednesday, 09 October 2013 | BRUHASPATI SAMAL | in Bhubaneswar

If one searches about an organisation which serves India, a land of heterogeneous racial, lingual, religious, and social cultures upholding a rich cultural heritage through religious pluralism and shares sorrows and happiness of millions of people in as many as 1,652 mother tongues, inclusive of 18 Constitutional languages, besides protecting national unity, social cohesion, secular and federal structure and democratic ethos, certainly, the name of the India Post comes to mind.
Competently assisting the rulers, elite and mercantile community in its various forms in ancient and medieval times, it has conveniently served both the British rulers  and general public in modern times as a forceful organisation in raising national and political consciousness. Long before the times of email and mobile phones, the mail-runner in earlier times not only carried people’s messages, but their emotions and hopes. Prior to independence, the India Post, through a limited work force could develop a vast network of communication even before the Railways and Telephones were introduced with widespread impact on the socio-economic life of the nation through efficient and prompt service. The days are gone. From pigeon to post, the India Post has travelled a long way with the passage of time. From 23,344 post offices primarily opened in urban areas prior to independence catering to the needs of Britishers for development of their trade and exercising control over their vast Indian possessions with one post office serving 15,038 persons covering an area of 53 square miles to 1,54,822 post offices having 4,74,574 employees  as on March 31, 2012, the India Post has registered nearly a seven fold growth during the period of last seven decades focusing its expansion to rural areas and thus has been acknowledged as the  largest postal network in the world with one post office serving 7,817 people on an average covering an area of approximately 21.23 sqkm and providing  postal facilities within reach of every citizen in the country at affordable prices adopting every mode of transmission from bare foot to air route with recorded delivery of 1,575 crore mails every year.
Going beyond its traditional products and services of sale of stamps and stationery, booking and delivery of letters/parcels etc., the India Post has introduced several new products and services like Speed Post, Express Parcel Post, Business Post, Media Post, Retail Post, Speed Post Passport Service, Direct Post, Bill Mail Service, Logistic Post, ePost, iMO, ePayment, World Net Express etc. which cater to the need of every citizen.
The National Postal Policy has been formulated to develop services that assist, facilitate, enhance and quicken the process of development aimed at inclusive growth and reposition India Post to become a self-sufficient, credible, efficient, quick and cost–effective provider of these services.
Thus, it is just trying to do more than what it can to stay relevant today. The India Post entered into the digital era through counter mechanization installing 102 personal computer-based MPCMs in 22 selected post offices during the year 1990 – 91 and conceived   the Project Arrow concept in April, 2008 under “Look and Feel Good” concept which has been extended to 18,600 post offices in 2012-2013 by adding 3,039 post offices for improvement and monitoring of core operations. The Government has approved the Department of Posts’ IT Modernization Project with a total outlay of `4,909 crore in November, 2012 which aims at modernization and computerization of all post offices in the country, including 129,378 Branch Post Offices in rural areas. For providing Any-where, Any-time and Any branch banking, Core Banking Solutions (CBS) has been included in the IT Modernization Project, 2012. The Department of Posts is also emerging as a potential service provider to other organizations.  Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has entrusted the job of collecting statistics for ascertaining the Rural Price Index. The Railway Ministry and the Department of Posts have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for providing railway ticket booking services at the post offices. The Department of Posts is discharging the responsibility to disburse the wages to MGNREGS beneficiaries through Post Office Savings Bank account. In collaboration with NABARD, it is providing the facility of micro-credit to SHGs. The India Post has tied up with the State Bank of India to sell its assets and liability products through identified post offices. Old age pension is being paid through Post Office Savings Accounts and Money Orders. As a tie-up with Reliance Money Limited, sale of gold coins has been launched on October 15, 2008 as a part of retail post in selected post offices.
 The Department of Posts has been assisting other public authorities under the Central Government in implementing the RTI Act by providing services of its designated Central Assistant Public Information Officers (CAPIOs). For this, Sub Post Masters at tehsil level act as the Central Assistant Public Information Officer (CAPIO) for accepting RTI requests and appeals from all Central Government Departments.   Under a partnership with Deutsche Post, Money Order Videsh was launched by the India Post on October 24, 2009 to facilitate remittances to foreign countries and receiving of remittances from foreign countries through post office.
Thus, passing through ages, the India Post is now facing competition due to emergence of electronic alternatives, more demanding customers, presence of organised / unorganised couriers for mail conveyance financial players like banks and insurance companies and above all the challenges of globalisation, corporatisation and liberalisation.
Thus, to meet the challenges and to face the competitors on one hand  and to prove itself as an  efficient and reliable communication network as the main component of the communication infrastructure for playing  a crucial role in the socioeconomic development and  integration of the country on the other,  the Postal department is doing a lot of things other than just delivering letters aiming for a transformation with re-engineering of business processes and making it compatible to suit the new ICT solutions and evolving new processes based on customer needs.
(The writer, Postmaster, Ashoknagar Head Post Office, Bhubaneswar, is secretary, All India PostalEmployees’ Union, Group-C, Bhubaneswar.)
  AIPEU PURI congratulate Com.Samal for his Column ,the saga should go on