Thursday, February 20, 2014

Transforming the Department of Posts into a Technology Driven Department

K. K. Pant*

A massive transformation of the Department of Posts is being undertaken by the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology which will metamorphose the Department - now better known to the nation as India Post - into a technology driven Department. For this the Government has approved an IT Modernization Project with a total outlay of Rs 4,909 crore. The unique Project involves networking of all the 1,55,000 post offices spread across the country rolling out Core Banking Solution for Post Office Saving Bank, McCamish Insurance Solution for Postal Life Insurance and will enable track and trace of all accountable mails in the country. The IT Modernization Project commenced in 2012 and is expected to be operational by 2015. It covers eight segments which are under various stages of implementation andoperationalization. A dedicated Data Centre is already in place.

This Project is unparalleled in terms of its scale and underlines the commitment of the Department of Posts to provide better services to the customers, and ensure higher employee satisfaction. The project is intended to build a wider reach to Indian populace through more customer interaction channels.
The Core Banking Solutions (CBS) in All Departmental Post Offices

The Department of Posts is also implementing the Core Banking Solutions (CBS) in all Departmental Post Offices during the current Five Year Plan. The Project introduces the facilities of ATM banking, mobile banking, phone banking, National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) to the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) customers.  It will enable the Post Office Saving Bank customers to undertake anytime anywhere banking through a network of ATMs.  CBS has been rolled out in 38 pilot Post Offices and is expected to be rolled out in all departmental Post Offices by 2015. The Project will IT enable the Branch Post Offices with a bio-metric hand held device, which isAadhaar enabled, printer and solar power to charge battery.
Initiatives to Improve the Quality of Mail Related Services Across The Country

The Department of Posts has also taken initiatives to improve the quality of mail related services across the country. As part of the Mail Network Optimization Project (MNOP), the operational network for the delivery of mails has been restructured and the processes redesigned. An online monitoring system has been developed for a more effective monitoring of Speed Post Registered Post. An online track and trace system is also in place for registered articles on a pattern similar to the tracking of Speed Post articles. Automated Mail Processing Centers (AMPCs) have been set up at Delhi and Kolkata to further expedite the mail sorting activities. A Global Positioning System (GPS) system has been installed in mail vehicles in the North East Region for a better monitoring of the movement of mail carriages.

Providing Computers and Peripherals to All Departmental Post Offices

The Department of Posts has also provided computers and peripherals to all 25,145 departmental Post Offices in the country to enhance their efficiency. Remotely Managed Franking Machines (RMFMs) are also being supplied to the post offices in a phased manner.  These machines have a number of security features, like generation of 2D barcodes to assist traceable evidence of postage. These machines will improve the efficiency of the post offices by faster franking of articles and also help in having a ready data base of customers in an electronic form.

‘Project Arrow’

Department of Posts has also launched a Quality Improvement Project called ‘Project Arrow’ in April 2008, which entails a comprehensive improvement of the Core Operations of Post Offices as well as the ambience (Look and Feel) in which postal transaction are undertaken.

The Department of Posts has evolved a Sevottam complaint Citizen’s Charter laying down the service delivery norms of various postal products and services.  A monitoring mechanism to ensure the quality of services and promptredressal of public grievances is in place at all levels. It is also operating the Central Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) to handle complaints.

New services like e-IPO, e-Post, Express Parcel Post, Business Parcel Post have been introduced which not only open new revenue streams but also lead to widen the reach of the post offices and provide the customer with value added services.

Market Share on the Rise

The market share of the value added services of the Department of Post vis-à-vis private couriers has increased in last two year which are:

Sl. No.
Name of Products / Services
Market Share

Speed Post
15.1% to 18.3%
16.7% to 19.8%
Express Parcel Post
4% to 6%
5% to 7%

Increasing Revenue Generation

The efficacy of the steps taken by the Government is also reflected in the fact that the Revenue generation of Postal Services is increasing every year, and the targets for each coming year are raised by the Government. The revenue generated and expenditure incurred by the Postal Department, during the last three years and the current year year-wise, are:
                                                             (Rs. in crore)
2013-14 (up to Dec' 2013)

To further increase the revenue the Department has taken following steps:

·         Beside the IT Modernization project, a series of initiatives have been taken under Mail Network Optimization Project in order to improve the quality of mail services.

·         Launching special drives for covering more persons under the small saving network, especially in rural areas. Similar drives are also launched to popularize Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) so that life cover / savings is encouraged among the rural population.

·         Financial Performance of each postal circle related to revenue and expenditure are reviewed on regular basis.

·         Rationalization of postal products to improve service delivery in the light of market demand.

(PIB Features.)

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

With inputs from the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications & IT.

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