Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Government keen to leverage postal network in rural India

DESCRIBED as a giant, one which is slumbering, India Post is ready to take its right place under the sun. Department of Post is awaiting granting of Payment Bank licence as it has lined-up slew of plans to walk the talk and carve a place for itself in competitive financial market of the country. M S Ramanujam, Member, Banking and HRD, Postal Services Board, Department of Posts, said Government is keen to leverage postal network in rural India to help realise its target of inclusive financial growth of marginalised. 

The Government over last five-years have pumped in Rs 5,000 crores that helped posts to modernise and is now ready to rollout Core Banking Solutions in its 25,000 posts offices located in urban centres by March end. Alongside the licence of Payment Bank would enable Post Offices to provide host of financial services to people and act as one stop facilitation centre. He was interacting with ‘The Hitavada’ on the sidelines of 19th national e-governance conference. 

In fact posts network in rural India and surplus of trust among local populace has spurred plans to provide one stop service point to customers and Government to has ayed the plan. In fact Prime Minister Narendra Modi was surprised to know that in naxal belt it is only post offices that were left unscathed while all other tags with Government were targeted. This shows the confidence that rural people repose in Post office that even naxals are afraid to touch.

Hence Government has asked Post Offices to oversee sales of Jeevan Bima, Suraksha Bima and Atal Pension accounts. For rural areas there are more plans wherein postmen would be provided hand held machines, similar to point of sales (PoS) unit, and people having chip based debit card can utilise the same to pay utilities bill and also make other payment. Ramanujam also said that Department of Posts are also concentrating on money transfer tapping small and marginal persons, mostly migrant labourers, using the mobile phone platform. 

The Government has also asked Posts to target Mudra Bank loans and in future there is all likelihood of providing housing loans and finance small starts-up. While bank are engines of economic growth it is the posts which is the all important wheels of growth.

1,000 new ATMs

While ceding the more lucrative urban business to banks, Department of Posts is however concentrating on adding to its ATM network which very soon would be linked with banking network, revealed M S Ramanujam. He said about 1,000 ATMS, all white label ones, would be installed. The white label indicates that private parties will install and service the machines while space would be provided by post offices. In near future Post Offices will also market mutual fund policies and insurance policies.

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