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Postal Department sees 45% growth in ecommerce parcel handling in 2014-15

IT and Communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad states that the Department of Posts has handled cash on delivery of Rs 500 crore till March 2015, which crossed Rs 1,000 crore in December 2015, and expected to reach Rs 1,500 crore by the end of fiscal year 2016.

The postal department has set up 48 new parcel processing centres in the last 18 months, and plans to add 9 more in the financial year. This has led to 45% overall revenue growth in the parcel segment by 45% during 2014-15 and more than 100% in the current financial year. Speed Post registered a 12.5% growth in the current financial year, up from 8.9% last year, bringing overall revenues of Rs 1,100 crore till this month.

Amazon India’s booking increased from an average of 50,000 items every month last year to 300,000 per month in the current year; while Flipkart and Myntra’s bookings saw an increase from 15,000 monthly to 30,000-50,000 every month. The Indian postal department has the biggest network in the world, and digitising it will ‘redefine operations to tap into the ecommerce industry’ especially for last mile logistics and bring in revenue, Prasad added.

Also read: Quartz’s The world’s largest postal network wants to become a bank – and it should

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36,738 gram panchayats now have optical fibre cable laid out under NOFN/BharatNet

Under the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, which has been now renamed to BharatNet, the government has laid optical fibre in 36,738 gram panchayats till 17 January, reports ET. It plans to roll out cables in 50,000 panchayats by March. Its aim is to connect 90,000 villages by fiscal 2017 end. However, only 4,000 villages have been linked to the network, according to a GovernanceNow report. (How many gram panchayats under which states covered here.)

States back out
Since its launch in 2011, the ambitious project which aimed to cover 250,000 villages in 3 years, only managed to pilot in Idukki in January 2015. Interestingly, while some states have started working on plans for laying out a broadband network under BharatNet, a couple of days ago, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir have withdrawn their interest, stating that their core competence does not lie in laying optic fibre cable, a job best left to the central government.

Private sector participation
Earlier today, the TRAI recommended the public private partnership model, aligning private incentives with long term service delivery. In November last year, a TRAI consultation paper for the implementation of BharatNet was looking for participation from the private sector where companies could build, own and generate income from the optical fibre network for some time before transferring it back into public ownership.

Also read:

– Tamil Nadu Government turns ISP; BharatNet for govt, villages & households from 2016

BSNL ups broadband speed to 2 mbps

– Mint’s Needed, a national fibre optic network

Image Credit: Pratheepps under CC BY SA 3.0