National Postal Policy to be announced in 2012: Kapil Sibal
NEW DELHI: A policy targeting expansion and modernisation of the postal network would be announced this year, said Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said on Wednesday and added that the postal department had applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a banking licence.
"The nature of postal services has changed dramatically, to recognise this change there needs to be a new policy framework not only to participate in the change but to take the postal department to a new height," the minister told reporters after a round table with postal stakeholders.
He added that the policy would ensure that all courier service providers were registered with the government. It would also provide affordable services at all points in the country as part of its Universal Service Obligation.
The minister added that he had written to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to expedite the granting of a banking licence. This would help in making financial inclusion a reality.
A sustainable tariff policy for providing basic postal services also has to be determined besides laying down standards with respect to size and preparation of packages, choosing a specific mail product or value addition to an existing product, the draft policy states.
Government officials, operators' representative associations, users of postal and communication services, banks, regulators, transports and corporate entities are asked to submit their suggestions on the draft policy to the government.
The policy is expected to adopt a two-pronged approach, firstly develop services that assist, enhance and quicken the process of development aimed at inclusive growth and secondly reposition India Post to become a self-sufficient and cost-effective provider of these services.
The department is also expecting large scale private sector participation in providing value added services and extending the department's product range beyond the current core functions.
"There are tremendous opportunities for the private corporate sector to use its ingenuity to create innovative products and delivery mechanisms through the Indian postal network," Sibal said.
India currently has 1.55 lakh post offices, 95 percent of which are located in rural areas.
Source : The Economic Times, 1 Feb, 2012