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Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has called for restructuring of 150-year-old Department of Post by separating its regulatory and services functions to meet challenges of technological age

Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has called for restructuring of 150-year-old Department of Post by separating its regulatory and services functions to meet challenges of technological age.

"The postal department should also restructure itself to meet challenges of 21st century. The Department of Post (DoP) should look into prospect of bifurcating the ministry from the regulator and the operator, just as was done in the telecom sector," Sibal told PTI.

He said that the DoP should explore possibility of having different entities namely policy making, regulator and service provider. "No decision has been taken yet. It is all a matter of debate and dialogue at the moment," Sibal said.

DoP, which has around 5 lakh employees, is responsible for policy making, regulation and providing postal services, at present.

The over 100-year old Indian Post Office Act bars any individual or entity from delivering letters for commercial purpose. The business of private courier companies is built around delivering documents, parcels and others items which do not fall under the category of 'letter'.

Sources in the ministry said that Sibal held a meeting with DoP officials early this week on the issue of finanlisation of the National Postal Policy 2012 and asked them to prepare roadmap for restructuring as well.

They said that next meeting on the issue is expected to take place in 15 days. They said that the minister, in June, had asked DoP to set up a body to oversee the unbundling of its functions.

An independent body named Postal Development Board (PDB) will be responsible for the overall development and governance of the postal sector, they added. The PDB will also draw a road-map for unbundling of postal department functions.

The minister had also instructed DoP to constitute a Postal Advisory Board (PAB), in line with Telecom Commission, which should have representation from government, industry players, academics and other stakeholders, they said. The role of PAB will be to provide inputs to PDB on policy matters.

The government in 1997 created the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to regulate the sector. Under New Telecom Policy 1999, government further restructured DoT by separating service providing function from it.

Source:-The Economic Times

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