Big urban retailers are gasping amid a slowdown, but thanks to Communications Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s brainchild ‘Project Arrow,’ post offices dotting the country’s landscape look poised to become the next big retail centres.
The idea is to use 1.55 lakh conveniently located post offices to profitably sell merchandise, off-the-counter medicines, education and auto loans and even healthcare services. They are already selling text books, ayurvedic medicines, gold coins and railway tickets.
“India Post is looking at various joint ventures and I see post offices emerge as small retail malls in various villages,” Scindia told a session with top officials of the Department of Posts in New Delhi.
Under the project, some 5,000 post offices will become broadband cyber cafes by June 30 this year to help people in remote places access the Internet, besides doubling up as centres for quick money orders executed electronically.
About 500 post offices have already been revamped with an investment of Rs 86.56 crore in the first two phases and the government will spend around Rs 883 crore for the third phase that began on January 1.