The government of India has launched the International Tracked Packet service, which will provide cross-border shipping for the e-commerce sector in the Asia-Pacific region. This service will be provided by the Department of Post, and will offer features like track & trace, volume discounts, pick up facility, and compensation for loss or damage. Individuals can also use this service.

It can be booked at any post office around the country, and currently, it delivers to – Australia, Cambodia, HongKong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Charges for the first 100 grams is Rs 310 for all the countries, except Australia and New Zealand where the charges for the first 100 grams will be Rs 330. For every additional 100 grams or part, charges vary from Rs 25 to Rs 40.

It’s worth noting that in 2014, the Indian government had set up a task force to explore ways of using the post office network in the country to provide last mile services. The task force report (pdf) had suggested that three separate subsidiaries be formed as part of a holding company under the Postal Department, that would focus on services in e-commerce, banking and insurance segments. Each of these subsidiaries would be operated as Strategic Business Units (SBUs).

A few months later, in May 2015, India Post launched an e-commerce centre in New Delhi to handle all the e-commerce delivery business. It handles deliveries via India Post every day, from booking to dispatch, with the capacity to process up to 30,000 parcels every day. At the time, it was already working with major e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm and Yepme among others.

e-IPO

The government has also launched e-IPO (Indian Postal Order) in the following denominations: Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50 and Rs 100. At present, it is being piloted in Bihar, Delhi and Karnataka, and is expected to be extended to the entire country within the next two months. Users can purchase e-IPOs here, and pay for it via debit cards, credit cards, and net banking.

Note that in April 2015, India Post had shut down its traditional money order service which facilitated pan-India door-delivery of funds to a payee. Shikha Mathur Kumar, the deputy director general for finance, had said at that time that India Post will be pushing the electronic money orders (eMO) and instant money orders (iMO).

India Post Payments Bank

During the launch of the services mentioned above, the Minister of Communication, Manoj Sinha also mentioned that the government will be setting up 650 India Post Payments Bank, and that it is also working towards providing its financial services via all 1.55 lakh post offices in the country.

Earlier this year, in March, Sinha had told the Parliament that as of the end of January 2017, the India Post Payments Bank was operational only with 8 access points in total, in Raipur (Chhatisgarh) and Ranchi (Jharkhand). At the time, he had also mentioned that access points in post offices in up to 650 districts with linkages to all post offices across India will be set up by September 2017, “subject to feasibility and fulfillment of regulatory requirements.” That hasn’t materialized yet, and this time around Sinha didn’t mention any specific deadline.