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You’ve got mail!

Fascinated by the time-tested mail delivery system that serves the entire country? Join the prestigious Indian Postal Service to manage this mammoth network and more. You can become a part of a professionally run organisation while serving the nation.

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 11:59 IST
Syed Amir Ali Hashmi

For more than 150 years, the Department of Posts (DoP) has been the backbone of India’s communication and has played a crucial role in the country’s socio-economic development. With 155,015 post offices covering 2.97 million sq km, the Department of Posts has the widest postal operation in the world.

From sorting mail at railway stations at night, to handling customer complaints at the post office, managing operations in far-flung villages, and educating and motivating corporate clients to use the service, the Indian Postal Service provides a great opportunity to be part of a professionally run organisation while serving the nation.

“With 1,55,015 post offices, the Department of Posts has the most widely distributed postal operation in the world. It stands committed to fulfill its Universal Service Obligation of delivering to the last person (across) the last mile,” says Dr Kushal Pathak, director, Project Management Unit, DoP.

Officers for the Indian Postal Service (IPS) are recruited through the Civil Service Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission.

After clearing the UPSC-administered exam, a probationer has to complete a foundation course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie. S/he then proceeds to the Postal Staff College, India situated at Ghaziabad for professional training.

During this period, probationers are given grassroots-level training in managing postal services. They are also given insights into leadership values, personnel management, management of business and overall personality development. For hands-on training, a probationer is required to work as a Postmaster, Inspector, Manager Marketing, and Assistant Superintendent of Post Offices, to acquaint officers with the field-level work.

The job of Senior Superintendent of Post Offices (or Railway Mails) is the most challenging in the DoP. This officer is responsible not only for postal functions, but also for personnel matters, training, managing public relations and dealing with public grievances. Implementation of government policies, creating new business opportunities for the DoP and improving quality, and banking services, also come under the gambit of this officer.

“There is another circle, called the Base Circle, to cater to the postal communication needs of the armed forces. It is headed by an Additional Director General, Army Postal Service, at the rank of a Major General. The Army Postal Service comprises officers on deputation from the civil side of the Indian Postal Service. This unique opportunity offers one a chance to serve in the Army. In case the officer fulfills requirements of fitness, he has the option of returning to it several times during his career,” says Dr Pathak.

What's it about?
Indian Postal Services is a Central Group ‘A’ Service, and its officers are recruited through the Civil Service Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission. It caters to the largest network of post offices in the world. The job involves coordination with government agencies such as the railways and the airlines for transportation of mail, coordination with the Department of Finance through the network of post offices and state governments to manage small savings, and to interact with law and order agencies to ensure safety and security of cash and valuables in post offices, transmission of cash and police assistance in times of unrest

Clock Work
Normal working hours are 9 am to 5 pm. However, during field postings officers are required to to work well beyond office hours
9 am: Reach office
9.30 am: Check appointment schedule
10 am: Finish pending work and go through urgent files. Instruct staff on various operational issues
1.30 pm: Lunch
3 pm: Take a tour of post office
5 pm: Head home

The Payoff
The starting salary is approximately Rs32,000 per month. After the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations, the salary structure has been revised. Structures depend on one’s scale also. One starts training, moves on to junior time scale, senior time scale, junior administrative grade, senior administrative grade, higher administrative grade, principal chief postmaster general, member postal service board and then secretary to government of India (ex-cadre post)

Skills
. Excellent managerial and administrative skills
. Ability to work even in remote areas
. Because the number of postal officers is few, the fraternity is strong and a helpful attitude is very important
. Good networking skills
. Ability to work in a close-knit environment

How do i get there?
Indian Postal Service is a Central Group 'A' Service and its officers recruited through the Civil Service Examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission

Institutes & urls
After clearing the UPSC-administered exam, a probationer has to complete a foundation course at:
. Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie
And then to:
. Postal Staff College India, Ghaziabad www.indiapost.gov.in/PSCIB/

Pros & Cons
.

Over time, an IPS officer becomes an expert in Central Government rules and procedure and also an excellent HR manager. Moreover, the IPS provides


excellent job variety including public interaction, due to which IPS officers are preferred by other central government ministries to man important positions on


deputation


.

The Department of Posts requires special logistics management, which endows one with this skill to a high degree of efficiency


.

It offers one the opportunity to travel and see places around the country


.

Here you get a chance to serve in the Indian Army. One can serve for some time and then come back to IPS and then again go back to the Army. This


flexibility is enviable

DoP officers have undergone a great transition

A senior officer talks about how times are changing for the postal services

What are the various departments in postal services a new IPS officer is required to work in?
For providing postal services, Department of Posts’ (DoP) operations are divided into 22 circles, which largely are coterminous with state boundaries, (except in the North East circle, which includes all seven states of north eastern India). Circle Office is an administrative unit headed by the Chief Postmaster General who is the overall in-charge of the operations in the circle. Circles are further subdivided into regions and then divisions. Each region is headed by a Postmaster General and a division by a Senior Superintendent. A division could either be performing postal functions or be responsible for the Railway Mail Service (RMS). The Postal Division manages all post offices and last-mile delivery, while the RMS manages the transmission of mails. The divisional head is also responsible for administrative and HR-related activities which include recruitment, leave, transfer, training, promotion, legal/vigilance and performance management. A new entrant to the service handles any such division on his first posting.

What are the current challenges that the department faces?
Trends such as urbanisation, increased demand for financial services, increased funding by government for weaker sections and rural sector now require the DoP to develop new processes and supporting technology. In this process, the department faces twin challenges of increased competition and continuing advances in communication technology, especially mobile telephony and the Internet.

How has your job changed in recent times?
During current times, the Postal Service and its officers have undergone a great transition. They are not just civil servants, but are also looked upon as agents of change. The mandate of the government to provide efficient and universal postal service has bestowed a lot of responsibility on the department. It has been vigorously training its officers on management, induction of technology, specialised postal and banking training, due to which officers are now proactively introducing high business standards at work, large-scale IT utilisation and change-management efforts.

Dr Kushal Pathak Interviewed by Syed Amir Ali Hashmi