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================ Blog maintained by : P. Radhamohan Nair, Private Secretary to Post Master General, (Retired) Northern Region, Calicut, Kerala Circle=================

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

India Post Payments Bank Will Be Functional By March 2017: IT Minister


Hyderabad: India Post's payments bank will start functioning from March 2017 and serve as a wider platform to implement financial inclusion programmes, IT & Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Sunday.
"We are going to start the postal payments bank by March 2017. Very soon we will go to the Cabinet and postal payments bank will become operational from March 2017," Prasad told reporters here.
He said the proposed India Post payments bank will have immense potential to sell third party product and services. About 50 companies, including some from abroad, are keen to partner with postal department for the payments bank, like World Bank, Citi from America, Barclay's from England, he said.

Reacting to a query, he said these institutions will offer third party services like insurance products, mutual funds, banking instruments and a variety of financial instruments. Asked on the interest shown by these institutions, the minister said, "...that board will decide, I'm only saying value addition of postal department it is attracting so much global attention." "...they will decide how much to give them. It is a call they will take," he said.

The payments bank of postal department will become a big platform of financial inclusion, Prasad said. "We are going to invest about Rs 800 crore -- Rs 400 crore will be invested by  the department and the remaining amount will be equity part (mobilised as equity)," he said.
"Postal department has the widest network in India. We have 1,54,939 post offices in the country, out of that 25,560 are departmental post offices and 1,29,379 are branch post offices," he said.

"Under (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, we have decided to re-energise the postal department for India's growth and financial inclusion," he further said. In August 2015, the RBI had given in-principle approval to 11 entities to start payments bank, including the postal department.

The approval is valid for 18 months and all the entities are required to submit a detailed business plan after which they shall be given the final nod. 

Rs. 800 cr. for Postal Payments Bank

Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has stated that the Centre would invest Rs.800 crore in the proposed India Post payments bank, which is expected to become operational by March next. Half of it would be from the Department of Posts/Centre and the remaining would be equity.
RBI clearance
An additional Rs.400 crore would be mobilised as equity for the payments bank, to which the Reserve Bank of India had already given clearance, the Minister said here on Sunday while speaking on the sidelines of the three-day annual conference of heads of circles of the Department of Posts.
The payments bank would also offer third-party services of about 50 Indian and overseas financial institutions including insurance products, mutual funds, banking instruments and debt-equity and the board of the bank would decide the modalities of extending such services. “World Bank, Citi Bank, Deutsch Bank, Barclays and several others have already expressed their intent to partner with the India Post payments bank”, the Minister said.
Financial inclusion
Stating that payments bank would become a big platform for financial inclusion in the country, the Union Minister said performance of the Department of Posts had improved considerably during the last two years. He pointed out that from 2 per cent negative growth in revenue from parcel service as part of e-commerce in 2013-14, it went up by 45 per in 2014-15 and by 81 per cent in 2015-16.
The CAG had termed India Post speed post service best courier service in the country and its revenue was up by 8 per cent during 2015-16 compared to the previous year. With 1,54,939 post offices across the country, including 1,29,379 in rural areas, the Department of Posts had played a key role in financial inclusion by having 85.28 lakh accounts with a deposit of over Rs.4,500 crore in Sukanya Samriddhi accounts against just 4 lakh accounts achieved by all other banks put together, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
As part of digitisation and technological up-gradation, the department would soon introduce hand-held devices to 1.3 lakh rural postal staff for speedy and efficient banking, insurance and delivery services.
The Minister said 4,000 devices were already being used on pilot basis in six States including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
World Bank, Citi Bank, ready to partner with India Post: Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Source : http://www.thehindu.com

President conveys his appreciation and admiration for India’s unparalleled postal network.

Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India held a meeting with Shri Ravishankar Prasad, Minister for Communications and IT at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 20th May 2016, in which the central topic of discussion was the ongoing transformation of the postal network. The President enquired about the modernisation project, and was happy to learn about how the induction of IT was making service delivery at post offices contemporary. He also used the occasion to convey his fondness and admiration for the postal network to the postal staff, through the Minister.

File photo of President Mukherjee with Minister Prasad at a stamp release function in October 2014. Courtesy:www.prokerala.com

Details of this interaction with the President were revealed by Shri Prasad himself, during his keynote address on 22nd May 2016, at the Conference of the Heads of Postal Circles at Hyderabad.

There have been a few other occasions in the past also when the Department has had the opportunity to benefit from President Mukherjee words of guidance and came in for praise from him. While inaugurating an international postal event at New Delhi’s Vigyan Bhavan in 2013, he had commended the unparalleled network of the Post Office and advised that there is a huge scope for postal services to be engaged in e-commerce, and that it should capitallise on the rising demand for such business products. On that occasion, he had also highlighted the need to move with the times, and said that globalization and easier movement of workforce across nations have opened a great window of opportunity for the postal sector in parcel and money remittance businesses. Further, he had emphasised that worldwide, postal administrations enjoy the trust of people and advised that the Post Office must leverage this and other strengths to provide improved quality of service to the people.
Inauguration of the new building of the Rashtrapati Bhavan PO 
in July 2014. Photo courtesy: Exposeindialive.com
It is no surprise then that hearing from the Minister about developments like the networking of post offices, postal savings coming on a CBS platform and the Post Office preparing to set up a Payments Bank would have been a matter of satisfaction for him. His sending a message a message to the postal staff through the Minister is a rare gesture, which is sure to inspire them to higher standards of service delivery.
The words of appreciation from the President represent the increasing significance of the Postal network in the national mainstream and in public perception. With it also comes a higher responsibility for the management and staff of India Post, the responsibility of living up to the expectations of the country’s First Citizen.

India Post Payment Bank at a glance