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Govt to digitally connect rural post offices by March 2017

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The Government plans to digitally connect all rural post offices by March 2017, reports ET. The announcement was made in the Parliament by Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who said that the Government would connect 1,29,232 gramin dak sewak post offices in rural areas under the Department of Posts’ IT Modernisation Project.

The initiative is expected to cost Rs 4,909 crore for the digitization of around 1,55,000 post offices overall. The project is currently in the implementation stage; handheld computing devices, connected with SIM cards and with the ability to recharge using solar power, are being provided in rural post offices.

Other than this, core banking services (CBS) will be implemented in over 25,000 departmental post offices, which will be accessible over handheld devices provided in rural post offices. The Ministry further plans to set up 1,000 ATMs at post offices to improve accessibility. Note that the Department of Posts was one of the 41 applicants that received an in-principle nod from the Reserve Bank of India to set up a payments bank in August.

Money order service shuttered: India Post retired its traditional money order service in April last year. The agency mentioned then that it would push for electronic money orders (eMO) and instant money orders (iMO) instead.

Ecommerce centre: In May last year, India Post launched an e-commerce centre in New Delhi to handle all the e-commerce delivery business. It would handle deliveries via India Post every day, from booking to dispatch, with the conveyor belt able to handle up to 30,000 parcels every day. Last month, the Department of Posts reported that it had has handled cash on delivery of Rs 500 crore till March 2015, which crossed Rs 1,000 crore in December 2015, and was expected to reach Rs 1,500 crore by the end of fiscal year 2016.

E-Post office: Back in 2011, India Post launched an ecommerce portal the E-Post Office. As of now, it offers users ‘Post Office on the Desktop’ with a 1990’s web interface and options to buy stamps, track speed posts, pay for postal life insurance etc.

Image source: Pratheep P S under CC BY-SA 3.0

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