The government plans to digitise nearly 1.3 lakh rural post offices by March 2017, IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament on Friday.
The government has approved Rs 4,909 crore for modernisation of 1.55 lakh post offices including 1.29 lakh post offices in rural areas, called Gramin Dak Sewak post offices. The modernisation process will include setting up centralised data centres and disaster recovery centres, networking of all post offices.
The budget also includes training postmen who will be given solar powered hand held devices, connected to data centers via SIMs, which will give rural consumers access to financial remittances and saving accounts through biometric scanning apart from other identification tools.
Telecommunication Consultant India Limited ( TCIL) will provide the handheld devices alongside RICOH India Limited, and also ensure connectivity, while Infosys will be the Rural System Integrator, the minister said in Parliament.
The devices will also offer core banking solution through a mobile app, which ties into the Postal Department's future plan of introducing payment bank services. Core banking solution has been rolled out in 18,231 Post Offices, which is now the largest, surpassing State Bank of India.
About 23.81 crores postal saving bank accounts have been digitised, including 80,000 in rural areas. All the 25,297 departmental post offices in the country have been computerized while data centre was started in Navi Mumbai in April 2013, and disaster recovery centre has been functioning in Mysuru since May last year.