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                                                                                                                           Alkesh Tyagi*

In India, Information Communication Technology (ICT) has emerged during the last decade as the most powerful tool of sustainable human development. Today ICT’s inherent potential for inclusive growth through empowerment of masses makes it the most sought after need of the Nation. This technology is not the end but is mean to ends like good governance and better quality of service. Recognizing the role of ICTs in lessening the development divide and bringing transparency in Governance, India Post is the unique and most appropriate organization of Central Government for leveraging ICT for empowering Aam Aadmi.

Progressive use of computers in post offices and their connected network on a single integrated platform presents an opportunity for India Post to take state services to village level and also to retail products and services of other service providers. Most of the technology led transformation plans fail because they lack focus on processes, people and resources. India Post has adopted a holistic approach to technology led transformation understanding the importance of reengineering process, skill development and enhancement and resource planning.

Computerization and Networking of Post Offices

The Government has approved the IT(Information Technology) modernization project of the Department of Posts for computerization of all its Post Offices, Mail Offices, Administrative and other Offices, establishment of IT infrastructure, and development of software applications. IT modernization project is a Pan India Project covering all the Post Offices throughout India. It includes all Post Offices in North-Eastern and Assam Circles. This project includes supply of rural ICT hardware devices and peripherals to the Branch Post Offices in the rural areas, development of scalable, integrated and modular software covering all the operations of Department of Posts and establishment of IT infrastructure including Data Center, Wide Area Network (WAN) based networking of the departmental Post Offices and Rural Information Communication Technology (Rural ICT) infrastructure for the Post offices in rural areas. The scope of this project has been structured in eight Broad areas. Computerization and networking of all Post Offices would bring in the following benefits for the Aam Aadmi:

· Improve service level for users, increase productivity of the employees and inter-alia raise revenues of the Department.

· The Post Office will become the focal point of delivery of Social Security Schemes of the State.

· Enable electronic networking of about 1, 30,000 rural Post Offices.

· Enable paperless transactions for mail, postal banking and insurance services.

· Enable tracking and tracing of accountable articles meant for delivery.

Setting up of Automated Mail Processing Centres

Automation in mail processing would also help the Department in modernization of mail network, consolidation of sorting activities and expedite mail sorting and delivery. With a view to automate mail sorting, the Department of Post is setting up Automated Mail Processing Centers (AMPCs) in the metro cities. The sorting machines in Delhi and Kolkata are currently under installation and commissioning. These sorting machines would be able to sort approximately 35,000 articles per hour, whereas, the Mixed Mail Sorters would sort approximately 18,000 articles per hour. The Mixed Mail sorting machines would help in faster processing of large size letters, flats and packets/parcels through the use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Faster processing of mail, parcels and packets would lead to expedited delivery of these articles and improvement in service quality.

Project Arrow

The process of modernization of Post Offices began way back in April 2008 when Project Arrow was launched. The Project envisages up gradation of Post Offices in urban and rural areas both in terms of upgrading 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 the customers visiting the 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 while ‘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 21st April, 2010. ‘Look and Feel’ component of Project Arrow is under implementation in 229 more Post Offices.

As the strong IT - base enables to offer a range of e-enabled services Post Offices equipped with ICT will not only play crucial role in social and financial inclusion of rural masses throughout the country but also in National Integration and empowerment of Aam Aadmi.

                                                                                                                            (PIB Features.)


*Deputy Director(M&C), PIB, New Delhi

PIB Aizawl

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