Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday inaugurated the country’s first post office savings bank ATM at the Head Post Office in Thyagaraya Nagar here. The ATM was part of an Information Technology (IT) modernisation project of the Department of Posts.
Mr. Chidambaram said a total of Rs. 4909 crore had been allotted for the modernisation in the interim budget. “The launching of the ATM was a step towards making the department a completely technology oriented one,” he said adding that the Core Banking Solutions (CBS) scheme would benefit as much as 1,55,000 post offices.
Mr. Chidambaram said the ATM would run on a trial basis for six months. Afterwards, it would become an interoperable where cards of other banks could be used.
Commenting on the future of post offices in the IT era where sending letters and post cards had become a rarity, Mr. Chidambaram said the department was inventing new strategies to keep itself on the growth trajectory. For parcel services, people still preferred the post office, he observed.
Secretary of Department of Posts Padmini Gopinath said about 2800 such ATMs would be installed by end of 2015. Sixty-two post offices covering 64 lakh accounts had already migrated to CBS. “Over 26,840 post offices will adopt CBS by 2016. All account holders will be provided with an ATM card,” Ms. Padimini said. She said the department was also toying with the idea of starting e-commerce services in rural areas to improve its earnings.