Union Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal, who also holds the charge of Department of Posts, has now turned his focus on expanding the scope of India Post to take on the growing challenge from private courier business and diversify into banking.
“We have started the process of formulating the National Postal Policy with a two-pronged approach — to develop services that assist, facilitate, enhance and quicken the process of development aimed at inclusive growth, and reposition India Post to make it a self-sufficient, efficient and cost-effective provider of these services,” Mr. Sibal said at a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Wednesday.
Acknowledging the challenge being posed by private courier firms to India Post, Mr. Sibal said the government would soon start registering these entities as under the present rules and regulations they were not allowed to do business. “This will give courier service-providers legal recognition…we are suggesting registration, not licensing. We have no intention of licensing the courier industry and will only register them to know the size and status of the industry,” he said.
Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot said: “With over 1.55-lakh post offices, 95 per cent of which are located in rural areas, we are well placed to provide all kinds of services to people across India, particularly those living in villages and remote locations. We are assisting various government development programmes, while through banking facilities we can assist the Centre's initiative of providing financial inclusion to every citizen.”
Notably, the Department of Posts has already applied for a banking licence from the Reserve Bank of India, while Mr. Sibal has recently written to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to expedite the matter.
Mr. Pilot also pointed out that India Post had undertaken a massive drive to modernise its post offices to offer global standards of service to customers. “We need to create viable revenue models and adopt latest technologies for improving service delivery. India Post is gearing up to face future challenges… we will adopt various measures to transform the Postal Department in tune with the changing nature of services,” he added.
Source : thehindu.com dtd 02/02/2012