NEW DELHI: Aiming to leverage technology to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions, the government is planning to equip India Post to handle not only savings and insurance services, but also payments and data registration.
With the world's largest postal network, India Post has about 1.55 lakh post offices spread across the country. On an average, a post office serves an area of 21.21 sq km and a population of 7,175 people.
The government is planning to utilise the huge resources at the disposal of India Post to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions to the citizens like financial services using digital connectivity, a source said.
"The Task Force is already in consultation with related ministries on how to best use these resources. Already there are plans to roll out hand-held devices and related software to post offices on a pan-India basis from October 2016," the source said.
The idea behind the exercise is to enable the postman in rural areas to provide a plethora of services like savings and insurance, normal postal operations and also value added services like accepting payments of various services as well as registration of data, the source added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set up a Task Force to leverage the postal network in India to enhance the role of India Posts in financial inclusion, among other services and is expected to submit its report by year-end.
The Task Force includes the Department of Posts Secretary Kavery Banerjee, Telecom Secretary Rakesh Garg, Department of Electronics and IT Secretary R S Sharma, Rural Development Secretary L C Goyal and former SEBI Chairman G N Bajpai.
Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian is the Chairman of the Task Force.
Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has on various occasions said India Post with its unparallelled rural reach is best suited to offer delivery services to e-commerce players.
Already, the West Bengal circle of the postal department has approached various industrial bodies with a plan to create an online marketplace for the local traders.