To keep the Indian postal service afloat, department of Indian Posts is devising newer ways of cost cutting and earning revenue as it resorts to outsourcing for setting up new post offices and takes up disbursing of wages for nationally sponsored schemes.
Chief postmaster general KCV Nair disclosed to the media that Himachal government and postal department had come to an understanding about involving post offices in disbursing all payments made under National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (NREGA).
“Under the agreement signed last week, the district head post office would receive the consolidated payment under NREGA, which would then be disbursed through our branches,” said Nair.
The post office would not collect any commission for the service but would encourage the NREGA employed people to open small saving account in the branch post offices, which would earn indirect commission from the central government, he added.
As a cost cutting measure, the post master general said that department had started approving running of private post offices. “We have already opened two such post offices, one in Kullu and another in Shimla, and plan to open another 25 in the year,” said Nair. The private post offices would work on commission basis, he added.
He disclosed that it cost the postal department about Rs 85 crore annually to provide mail services in Himahcal Pradesh whereas the income it earned was about Rs 72 crore only. Of the about Rs 1200 crore deficit that the department incurred countrywide to provide the postal service, the hill state contributed Rs 13 crore he added.
There were 128 post offices in the state that had been fully computerized and telegram facility had been replaced by e-post, he said.
There were 2777 rural post offices in the state and to improve the lot of Gramin Dak Sewak, the backbone of the service in the countryside, Nair said, a pay hike and other incentives for them was being considered by the central government.
Efforts were being made to bring interest rates on postal deposits at par with bank interest rates as well as introduce loan facility on NSC and Kishan Vikas Patra surety holders, said the chief postmaster general.