CHENNAI: India Post may be fighting to remain relevant in a digital world, but don't write a requiem for it just yet.
After emerging as a contender for a banking licence when the Reserve Bank of India issued final guidelines for new permits earlier this year, India Post drew up a plan it is now ready to implement. India Post, Chennai city, will offer core banking solutions in four head post offices in the region as part of a pilot project.
As part of its trial run before making a full-fledged foray into banking, India Post will also set up ATMs at the head post offices in Mylapore, T Nagar and Tambaram and on Anna Salai.
"We will offer core banking solutions at the four head offices to begin with," Chennai city postmaster general Mervin Alexander said. "If we don't have core banking services, we won't be able to compete with other commercial banks."
Core banking services are provided by a group of networked bank branches, allowing customers to access their funds and conduct transactions from any of the member branches.
"India Post will initially set up ATMs in the four head offices," Alexander said. "Only India Post customers will be able to use the machines. We hope to become part of the overall ATM switch of banks in 12 months."
Tamil Nadu is one of seven centres in the country for India Post 2012, a pilot project to modernise all services offered by India Post. "Infosys is currently working on the final version of user acceptance tests of the core banking software for Chennai," Alexander said. Other vendors include TCS, for core system integration, which bagged a 1,100-crore six-year contract from the department of posts earlier this year.
Post office savings mobilised 100 crore in the Chennai region last year. The region comprises 20 head post offices, 648 departmental post offices and 1,658 branch offices in villages. "We plan to network branch offices with hand-held devices and other biometric systems," Alexander said.