V. P. Prabhakar*
The Department of Posts has been the backbone of
India’s communication network and core of the
country’s socio-economic development for the last
It has touched the lives of every citizen, be
it through mail, banking, insurance, money transfer
or retail services.
India has the largest postal network in the
world with 1,54,866 post offices as on March 31,
2011 of which 1,39,040 (89.78 per cent) are in the
On an average, a post office serves an area
of 21.23 sq. km and a population of 7,814 people
(5992 in rural areas and 23828 in urban areas).
The core activity of the Department is processing,
transmission and delivery of mail which is collected
from more than 5.7 lakh letter boxes, processed by
network of mail offices and conveyed by rail, road
and airlines all over the country. Considering the
vital need for providing benefits of technology to
customers, counter operations are now being
progressively computerized to provide a greater
range of services to the customer from a single
window leading to prompt and effort free services.
The Department of Posts
handled 177.9 million registered letters,
million unregistered mail traffic and 281 million
Premium Products (speed post and express parcel
post) during the year 2010-2011.
Optimization Project (MNOP)
As part of the Plan schemes, the Department has
undertaken Mail Network Optimization Project to
improve the quality of mail procession, transmission
The project seeks to optimize the existing
mail network of Department of Posts with a view to
streamline core mail operations.
It also seeks to bring in greater
standardization and improvement in the operational
processes relating to mail processing, transmission
In the first phase, Speed Post has been
covered and in the subsequent phases first and
second class mail operations would be covered.
It seeks to improve the quality of mail
up of Automated Mail Processing Centres (AMPCs)
The Department has a proposal to set up Automated
Mail Processing Centres in the metro cities with a
view to automate mail sorting.
The letter sorting machines would be able to
sort about 35000 articles per hour, whereas, the
Mixed Mail Sorters would sort about 16000 articles
The Mixed Mail sorting machines would help in
faster processing of large size letters, packets and
parcels through the use of Optical Character
Recognition (OCR) technology.
Automation in mail processing would also help the
Department in modernization of mail network and
consolidation of sorting activities in these cities.
The sorting machines in Delhi and Kolkata are
under installation and commissioning.
of National Address Data Base Management System
Under this project, the Department has taken an
initiative to put in place a National Address
Database Management System with an objective to
effectively manage the address database of public
customers, update the addresses online, and help
customers in locating correct addresses.
The project has been completed in Delhi and
Kolkata where address data up to street level has
been collected and street directory prepared.
upgradation of post offices in urban and rural
areas, both in terms of urgradation 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
customers visiting 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
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 and ‘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 April 21, 2010.
In 2011-12, ‘look and feel’ component was
implemented in 229 more post offices.
Development and Marketing
It has introduced a number of business products and
services such as speed post, express parcel post,
business post, bill mail, e-Post, etc.
to meet the demands of India’s growing
economy, especially the service sector.
The Business Development and Marketing
Directorate was set in 2004-05 to provide a sharper
focus on marketing.
The Directorate now has a Speed Post and
Marketing Division and a Business Products
With the introduction of Retail Post, India Post is
leveraging the vast network of more than 150,000
post offices across India.
Services under Retail Post include collection
of electricity bills, telephone bills, taxes and
Application forms of State Public Service
Commission, UPSC, universities and various
educational institutions etc. are sold through the
Apart from this, sale of gold coins, railway
tickets, forex, retailing of products through mail
order service and address verification for telecom
and gas companies are being done too.
An MoU was signed with National Stock Exchange for
installation LCD TVs in select post offices for
creating “financial awareness” among the public.
During 2011-12 (April 2011 to December 2011), 1.3
million railway tickets were issued through 179 post
offices and network.
The Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) is the oldest
and largest banking institution in the country.
It operates more than 238 million saving
accounts in more than 154000 post offices.
These schemes are an agency function
performed by the Department of Posts on behalf of
the Finance Department of India.
Through the network, the Post Office Saving
Bank provides an Avenue to people all over the
country to deposit their savings in various schemes.
Its reach and service is unparalleled
by any other banking agency in the country.
The Ministry of Finance
remunerates Department of Posts for the
savings bank work at a rate fixed from time to time.
Eight Savings Schemes are operated from post offices
across the country.
The outstanding balance under all National
Savings Schemes is Rs.6189.26 million as on March
10-year National Savings Certificate (IX issue)
The new scheme was introduced on December 1,2011
which carried interest of 8.7
per cent compounded six monthly but payable
There is a provision for getting income tax
rebate under Section 80 C of Income Tax Act.
The interest accruing annually but deemed to
be reinvested will also qualify for tax rebate.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee
Starting with Andhra Pradesh Circle in 2005,
the scheme of disbursement of MGNREGA wages
through post office accounts is currently
operational in 19 postal circles (except Delhi, J&K
As on December 30, 2011, nearly 53.5 million
MGNREGA accounts have been opened in post offices.
of Data for Computing Rural Consumer Price Indices
Data for rural CPI is collected for 1181 villages
The branch post masters concerned collect
prices of 185 to 292 commodities from the local
market on the weeks fixed for each village.
Postal Life Insurance (PLI)
It caters to employees of the civil and
military personnel of the Central and State
governments, local bodies, government aided
educational institutions, universities, nationalized
banks, autonomous institutions, public sector
Life Insurance (RPLI) scheme benefits rural
On an average there are 46,86,245
policies under PLI and sum assured is
There are 1,22,03,345 policies under RPLI
worth Rs.661,322.3 million.
A total of 61 stamps in 43 issues comprising
commemorative/special postage stamps were released
The total revenue earned, including remuneration for
savings bank and sale of cash certificates work, in
2010-2011 was Rs. 69623.32 million and the amount
received from other ministries/departments as agency
charges (recoveries) was Rs.4857.21 million.
Gross working expenditure for 2010-2011 was
Rs.137963.69 million (i.e. an increase of about 3.35
The increase was mainly due to payment of
dearness allowance/dearness relief and payment of
pensionary charges etc.
In spite of the increase in salaries and
pensionary charges, deficit of the Department was
million as against the previous year
deficit of Rs.66413.04 million.
The postal articles like postcard, printed postcard,
inland letter, letter registered newspapers-single,
registered newspapers-bundles, book post (book
patron and sample packets), book post (printed
books), book post (other periodicals),
acknowledgement, registration, speed post, value
payable post, money order and Indian Postal Order
are highly subsidized by the department.
*The author is a freelance writer.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author
in this article are his own and do not necessarily
reflect the views of PIB.