Chander M. Bhat 
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India Post Going Hi-Tech

9th October ... World Post Day

by Chander M. Bhat


The role of Post Offices around the world is undergoing changes as traditional postal activities are supplanted by electronic mail and use of New Technologies. Increasingly, post office is adopting new business to optimizer its strength as an outlet of public utilities. Energizing Financial Services has been a part of the new business strategies in most countries. In this context India Post took several initiatives to broad base the range of Financial Services provided by it. It forged a number of strategic partnerships with leading financial institutions all aimed at enhancing customer’s satisfaction and contributing towards revenue generation for the Department.

Let me first of all tell you the objectives of the Department and in broader perspective there are six objectives for which Department is committed to work effectively and efficiently. These are:

  • to ensure availability of basic postal services in all parts of the country, including tribal, hilly and remote areas.

  • to provide efficient, reliable and economic service.

  • to provide value-added services according to market requirement.

  • to modernize the services to handle the growing volume of work with efficiency and enhance customer and employee satisfaction.

  • to be a forward-looking organization, and

  • to generate more resources and improve financial performance.

We can look back with satisfaction on the development of postal services. Programmes of development, carefully formulated in tune with the Government’s policy of social justice, and implemented through successive Five-year Plans, have expanded the postal network and upgraded services. While there were 24,000 post offices in the country in 1947-48, today India has the postal network with more than 1,55,295 post offices. Expansion of the postal service to provide connectivity among the people has been possible through a deliberate policy to fulfill the Government’s obligation for providing universal postal service with substantial subsidy for post office in the rural, tribal and hilly areas.

India Post has a commitment with regard to the universal service obligation. This is in accordance with its commitments to the Universal service obligation. This is in accordance with its commitments to the Universal Postal Union. In terms of this commitment, India Post has to provide reasonable access to basic facilities for collection, transmission and delivery of mails at an affordable price. As already said the Department has a network of more than 1,55,295 post office out of which 1,27,101 are branch offices catering to the needs of the rural areas. All these offices are offering full range of services. Similarly, in terms of physical delivery of mails India Post’s record of providing two deliveries per day in urban centres and six deliveries a week in rural areas compares well with the best in the world including USA, Germany, Britain and China.

While the Department is committed to provide basic postal services to the people at an affordable price, it has also in the last few years tried to take initiatives to introduce value added postal services at market competitive price depending on the needs of the customers and in tune with economic and industrial growth in the country and rapid progress in information technology, the Department has initiated programmes of modernization with new technology. Enhancement of customer satisfaction through more relevant and efficient service with improvement of work-environment has been the focus of these programmes. Computer-based computer machines, VSAT network for speeding Money Orders, introduction of Hybrid mail, E-Post, Bill Post, Express Parcel Post, Greeting Post, Business Post, E-Bill Post, Media Post, Data Post, Retail Post, Philately, Corporate Money Order Service, IMTS, iMO, eMO and up-gradation of Speed Post service have been some of the initiatives. The Department hopes to build on these during the 9th Plan extending the Programme of modernization for more efficient service for customers all round.

To cope up with the ever-increasing time consciousness of the clients, the Department has introduced SPEED POST SERVICE, which is time bound, reliable and guaranteed. Even money orders are being transmitted through speed post.

Basic postal facility apart, the postal network, especially in rural areas, has played a key role since independence as an instrument of social progress. The Post Office Savings Bank operates throughout a wide network of post offices all over the country. The Department of Posts manages the work of post office savings bank on behalf of Ministry of Finance as an agency. The number of savings accounts in post office has risen rapidly from 3.1 million in 1947-48 to 70 million in 2007-2008.

Postal Life Insurance has steadily gained in popularity and it has now extended insurance cover to the rural public to benefit weaker section and women workers. Postal Life Insurance was introduced in 1884 as a welfare scheme for the P&T employees. However it was later extended to the employees of the Central and State Government, Armed Forces Personnel, Employees of the Local Universities and Nationalized Banks.

India Post got its new logo on 23rd Sept. 2008 - of a bird in flight - that aims to give the postal service a corporate look and reflects its new approach towards business. . The choices of colours are red and yellow. Red has been chosen for its traditional association with the postal service. It embodies passion, power and commitment. Yellow communicates hope, joy and happiness.


The Department of Posts launched a series of fully upgraded and completely new look post offices. Called 'Project Arrow', the launch aims to re-vitalize the post office network and enable it to play a larger role in socio-economic transformation of the country. These post offices are being given a thorough make over both in terms of physical look and feel and upgrading service delivery through IT enabled procedures. The major features of the project include identity branding (a new logo and a new slogan), designing of exteriors and interiors, up-gradation of computer hardware and software, improvement in delivery of services and up-gradation in connectivity. The post office will henceforth be a single window facility for banking, money remittance, transmission and delivery of information. Besides providing traditional services in a modern, more efficient and technology based mode, the post offices will also form an indispensable part of all social and civic initiatives such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and National Old Age Pension Scheme. Moreover, the stress is on creating a conducive and friendly work environment for both staff and customers.

In J&K today, a post office serves on average 5983 persons and provide service over an area of about 1,01,385 sq. km., and area cover by each post office is 82.55 sq. kms (which includes large number of un-inhabitated and desert area of Ladakh region). The achievement in this regard can be better appreciated when we remember that the state’s population has more that doubled since last about 58 years.

In the year 1890, there were just 2 post offices in J&K under the administrative control of Postmaster General, Lahore. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the then ruler of J&K brought tremendous changes in the postal system of the state and the number of post offices was increased from 2 to 81. In the year 1882 Money Order service was introduced in the state. The following figures will clearly indicate the progress made by the Posts in the state from its genesis.

 

  1880-81 1900-01 1947-48 2007-08
No. of Post Offices 2 81 129 1687
No. of letter boxes - 63 109 4036

No. of postal articles

delivered

97,084 28,59,157 36,49,880 4,30,07,689


As already said Jammu and Kashmir Postal Circle serves the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir spread over an area of 1,01,385 sq. kms, with a population of about eighty lakhs, as per the projections of State Government. The state comprises three regions, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and is further divided into 20 revenue districts with varied linguistic, cultural and topographical features.

Administratively, the Circle set-up comprises six Postal Divisions; Jammu, Srinagar, Baramulla, Leh, Rajouri and Udhampur besides one RMS Division. One Postal Stores Depot, One Circle Stamp Depot, one P&T Dispensary, and the office of Director, Postal Accounts which are located at Jammu. All these office are under the administrative control of Circle Office. Jammu and Kashmir Postal Circle was a part of erstwhile Punjab Circle, Ambala up to 18.2.1966. From 19.2.1966 an independent combined P&T Circle was established headed by a Director P&T. After bifurcation of Postal and Telecom wings J&K Postal Circle headed by Postmaster General came into being w.e.f. 01.09.1974.

For ensuring reliable and speedy transmission of mails between large cities and major towns, the Department utilizes Air Services, Railway Services and also Roadways. Besides, it operates its own fleet of Mail Motor Vehicles. Aiming to further improve its services amid stiff competition from private couriers, India Post has rented two freighters from Air India for speedier delivery of mail.

The Department is going to celebrate Postal Week from 9th October 2009 which is also being celebrated as the World Post Day every year. To celebrate the occasion in Jammu and Kashmir various activities have been planned at different levels, these include cultural meet, philatelic exhibitions, letter writing competition, customer meet, seminars, business week, painting competition etc. The objective of the celebration is to create awareness amongst the members of public regarding the importance of the public service provided by the India Post.

In this vast and complex country where the modern and the traditional pave always coexisted, the post will continue to be useful and programmes of modernization will ensure its relevance for the society in the coming years.

While concluding I hope that the vision of the Department is approaching nearer which reads as “India Post will be a socially committed, technology driven, professionally managed and forward looking organization”.

   
 

 

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