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Up-market plans for India Post

The Archaic Indian Post Office is in for a major image makeover. Plans are afoot to transform the mundane distribution counters, selling postal stamps and inland letters, into financial service hubs.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 03:30 IST
Anil Anand

The Archaic Indian Post Office is in for a major image makeover. Plans are afoot to transform the mundane distribution counters, selling postal stamps and inland letters, into financial service hubs. Driving these Postal Financial Marts would be a full-fledged bank that will exploit fully the India Posts' Rs 4 lakh crore worth public savings.

Though India Post is the largest saving bank, it can neither lend nor invest for revenue generation. The face-lift plans to change this by placing postal services on the corporate path without diluting their social responsibilities. An inter-ministerial committee will give its final report on this in May. It has on its table recommendations of KPMG, an internationally reputed firm hired by India Post as part of its plans to acquire a new look.

According to the recommendations, the Marts will provide services like banking, life and general insurance, mutual funds and securities, product selling and money transfer- both national and international - under one roof. "We will approach the Finance Ministry for necessary clearances, particularly for setting up a proper bank, once the inter-ministerial group's report is received," U Srinivasa Raghavan, Secretary Postal Department, told the Hindustan Times.

As to the proposed Financial Marts' USP, it would be attractive, high-tech ambience, coupled with free and friendly advice to potential customers and investors. "Given our phenomenal reach, the India Post intends to use its network for providing similar banking facilities to the common man, particularly in small towns and villages, as is being done by other banks. This will be in addition to the existing postal services," Raghavan said.

For starters, India Post will have Financial Marts in 300 bigger post offices. By the end of the 11th five year plan (2012), it will have 26,000 post offices cum marts and all linked to its Central Server Technology.

First Published: Apr 19, 2006 03:30 IST