Should we depend on private courier services? A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) study has found private couriers deliver only 90% of letters compared to 99% by speed post.
In major cities, the performance of speed post is faster and more reliable. The postal service delivers 99% of letters through speed post within 1-9 days as compared to 92% by private courier services that take up to 10 days.
At the local level, the delivery by speed post is 98% compared to 93% by courier services. While the time taken by speed post is 1-11 days at local level, it is 1-12 days in case of private couriers.
In a report on department of posts, tabled in Parliament recently, the official auditor has said the performance of speed post has been better not only at local level and in major cities, but it is the only reliable service at the tehsil and village level.
To compare the performance and quality of speed post with private courier agencies for delivery of mails, a test check was conducted by CAG in eight postal circles -- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Checks were conducted by posting hundreds of letters.
At the tehsil level only speed post could reach 100% addressees that too within 1-7 days while private couriers could deliver only 83% letters and time ranged from 1-23 days.
"Based on the results, it could be concluded that the speed post service of the department of posts (DoP) was better than the services provided by the private couriers," the auditor said.
Speed post was introduced in 1986 to provide a faster and time-bound mail delivery service in major cities. However, due to late delivery of mails people had stopped relying on the department. But the auditor says the perception is wrong and speed post still remains most reliable and account for more than 10% of the total revenue of the DoP.
In the test check, the auditor had posted 284 letters by speed post and 287 by different private couriers. The performance was judged based on the number of letters sent, letters actually delivered, and time taken for delivery of test letters.