Tuesday, 24 March 2015

India Post an unknown Wonder

3/24/2015

Everyone is repeating the same wordings that India Post is a giant organisation having 150 years of tradition with above 1,50,000 branches across the country.  Yes, it is true, this is the largest postal network in the world, but actually no one knows more about India Post and its depth.


Common men think that it is only a mail handling organisation with limited scope of operations.  Even educated people have no idea about what is going on in India Post and they think that employees of India Post have nothing to do at his/her work place since the mail volume has been reduced considerably and the importance of mail communication has been questioned.

More over people outside the organisation including main stream Medias has not given much attention to the technological and operational aspects of India Post.  They think that this organisation is still working with mail business only through old mechanism.  That is why they are highlighting only the number of Post Offices as its strength.

If you analyse India Post and its operations deeply, you can see that so many wonders are there to highlight other than reach or network of India Post.  That is the reason why I have given this heading for this article.  Here I am trying to reveal the actual wonders in the form of statistics which is unknown to everybody. 

This article is mainly targeted for persons who have little knowledge about business and technological side of India Post.

WONDER NO. 1

Technology or Software aspects

India Post is continuing its glorious service even in the revolutionized telecommunication era.  This is only because of various technological implementations in the Department of Post.  Unfortunately the technological side of India Post is still a mystery for majority of people.


People especially outside the organisation think that that much technological advancement has not been happened in India Post. And also think that Post Offices are working in traditional system with minimum software support.

But while analysing the technological side of India Post, it is clear that no other organisation in India is using this much number of software and web application in their day to day work.  Post Offices are mainly using 38 software and 22 web based applications in their day to day work. Small software or tools designed for a special purpose is not included in this figure.

Most interesting part is that if we consider a single handed Sub Post Office, the Sub Postmaster (The only official authorised to do all the office work) has to operate 19 software and 12 web applications for completing the daily work and taking the final report ( Daily Account in Post Offices)without any issue.

Each Head Post office will have minimum of 31 databases except SOSB DB of Sub-offices for running all software.  That means an HO with 30 SOs will have total of 61 databases. Each Sub-office will have minimum of 21 databases. 

Someone may ask that why should India Post uses this much applications and why don’t they incorporate all features in a single application.

You will understand why India Post is using this much applications while reading the second part of this article (i.e., Wonder No. 2).  While coming to the second question, each software using in Dop is a complete package with enormous windows and options.  So incorporating features of all software in a single application is not an easy task.  But it is expecting a change in this by the introduction of new CSI project in near future.

List of Software & web applications used in Post Offices

SL
Installed Modules
31
SpeedNetCommunication
1
Point of Sale
32
AccountMISClient
2
Treasury
33
UploadAccounts
3
SubAccounts
34
DBAnalyzer
4
Postman
35
CC Bridge
5
Despatch
36
Signature scanning software.
6
SB Cash
37
EFMS All in one tool
7
Indian Postal Order
38
Dropbox/Google drive
8
eMO

Web applications
9
SpeedNet
39
Finacle
10
ParcelNet
40
Agent Portal
11
MOCompilation
41
Mc camish
12
Accounts-General
42
iMO
13
Accounts-Paybill
43
ePost
14
Accounts- Other bill
44
Philsim
15
Accounts- NPC
45
PACS
16
Accounts-GPF
46
Customer Care Centre portal
17
Accounts-Tax
47
RMFS (Remotely Managed Franking Machine) website
18
Accounts-Pension
48
PLI/RPLI sites (Different logins are there for separate purposes)
19
Accounts-Bank Reconciliation
49
eMO  website (Separate logins for different access groups)
20
Accounts-Schedule
50
ePayment website (Separate logins for different access groups)
21
Sanchay Post-Online Transaction and data entry module
51
Speednet website (Separate logins for different access groups)
22
Sanchay Post- SOSB online and data entry module
52
RNet website (Separate logins for different access groups)
23
Sanchaya Post- SBCO module
53
ParcelNet website (Separate logins for different access groups)
24
V2SBCO and LAN2V2
54
SPCC Configuration website
25
BNPL Parcel
55
Accounts MIS website
26
PINCodeDirectory
56
MNOP monitoring website
27
eMOClient
57
Project Arrow websites
28
ePayment Client
58
Western Union POS / Translink
29
RNetCommunication
59
MoneyGram web application
30
ParcelNetCommunication
60
Web mail service

Software development and maintenance part are another interesting area in this organisation.  Unlike other organisation,  India Post have two dedicated software development centres, one at Mysore (CEPT Mysore) and another at Chennai (SDC Chennai).

CEPT Mysore produces and gives support for majority of applications (Both web and non-web applications) and acting as technology hub of India Post.  One Data Centre (DC) and one Data Recovery Centre (DRC) are located at CEPT Mysore. 

Central Servers in connection with eMO, ePayment, Speed Post, Registered and other web applications including India Post websites are deployed in the Data Centre at CEPT Mysore.

Servers of Core Banking application and McCamish are deployed in hired Data Centre under the ownership of Reliance at Navi Mumbai.  The Data Recovery Centre (DRC) for these applications is located at CEPT Mysore.

SDC Chennai on the other hand gives support for Sachay Post and related software and playing a vital role in the process of CBS migration.  Data Migration Command Centre (DMCC), Chennai is working as part of SDC Chennai.

At the same time India Post is using Finacle, a global banking solution from Infosys to meet the competition from banking sector and McCamish from Infosys to fulfil the insurance needs of Dop.  A big project from TCS is in progress to revolutionise other areas of operations.

Another notable point is that this organisation has implemented these cutting edge technologies without recruiting or hiring technical staffs from outside.  There is trained pool of staffs  in India Post called System Administrators who are well-versed in Server and Domain environment, Database Administration, Network Administration, Hardware engineering, Training and troubleshooting. 

Wonders in the technological side are not ending with this much.  We will continue discussing this matter in future also.

WONDER NO. 2

While considering the number of services

As I said earlier majority of the people think that Department of Post is handling only mail related items including booking and delivery.  But the actual picture is different.  We can say without any doubt that India Post is the only organisation in India especially under Government sector that deals with this much variety of services and operations under one roof.

Even though it is difficult to classify the services or operation of India Post, According to my opinion, we can broadly classify the operations in to five categories.

1.   Postal operations
2.   Banking business
3.   Insurance business
4.   Money Remittance service
5.   Other Business

Postal operations :-
Mail operation alone is a huge activity of India Post.  It starts from booking of an article and ends with its delivery.  In between booking and delivery a bigger activity is involved that is sorting of article which is carried out by RMS (Railway Mail Service) division.  RMS is a vital part of India Post but common man have no idea about RMS and its activity.

Everyone knows mail activities, but I am trying to give you a statistics of these activities in order to assess the size of this business.  Apart from sorting, despatching and delivery of mails, India Post is providing wide range of services according to the need of customer.  Totally around 46 services have been providing in connection with mail operation.  The list is as under

List of mail related services in Post Offices

1
Sale of Stamps
24
Inland Speed Post
2
Post card
25
Insured Speed Post
3
Inland Letter Card
26
Forein Speed Post
4
Letter
27
Express Parcel
5
Insured letter
28
Business Parcel
6
VP letter
29
Express Parcel COD
7
Insured VP Letter
30
Business Parcel COD
8
Aerogram
31
Speed Post COD
9
Book Packet
32
Business Reply Speed Post
10
Book Packet containing periodicals
33
Logistic Post
11
Book Packet containing printed books
34
Bill mail service
12
Pattern or Sample packets
35
Direct Post
13
Registered News paper
36
Media Post
14
Blind Letterature
37
Speed Post Passport Service
15
Parcel
38
ePost ( Retail & Corporate)
16
VP Parcel
39
Meghdoot Post card
17
eVP Parcel
40
Greeting Post
18
eVP Letter
41
Inland Flat Rate Parcel
19
Insured Parcel
42
Forein Flat Rate Parcel
20
Insured VP Parcel
43
Reply Post Card
21
Air mail parcel
44
Post Box/Post Bags
22
Sea mail Parcel
45
Competion Post Card
23
SAL Parcel
46
e-IOD ( Electronic Intimation On Delivery)

Banking business :-
India Post is dealing with all types of deposits like any other commercial banks.  The only difference is that India Post is not empowered to transact on loan transaction.  The strength of India Post in banking sector is far better than any other Nationalised banks in India.

I have already depicted the strength of Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) in my post “India Post to shake Nationalised Banks and Indian Banking industry”

Now India Post is introducing Core Banking Solution (CBS) in Post Offices.  It is planning to connect 25000 Post Offices across the country through CBS by the end of 2016.  ATM facility has been started in selected locations and it will spread to 3000 location by the coming years.

India Post is dealing with 12 deposit schemes, they are as follows

1
Basic Saving Account
2
Savings Account (with or without cheque)
3
Ruccuring Deposit
4
Term Deposit
5
Monthly Income Scheme
6
Senior Citizen Saving Scheme
7
Public Provident Fund
8
National Saving Scheme
9
Kisan Vikas Patra
10
National Saving Certificate
11
Sukanya Samridhi Account
12
Indira Vikas Patra


Insurance Business :-
India Post is the major player in the insurance sector in India like any other public or private sector insurance companies.  But the strength of Postal Life Insurance is not comparing anywhere even in the IRDA annual report.

India post introduced Postal Life Insurance (PLI) in 1884 and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) in 1995.  Now it is offering total of 12 types of policies under these two categories.  They are as under.

List of Postal Life Insurance policies


PLI

RPLI
1
Suraksha (Whole Life Assurance)
7
Gram Suraksha (Whole Life Assurance)
2
Suvidha (Convertible Whole Life Assurance)
8
Gram Suvidha (Convertible Whole Life Assurance)
3
Santosh (Endowment Assurance)
9
Gram Santosh (Endowment Assurance)
4
Sumangal (Anticipated Endowment Assurance for 15 and 20 Years)
10
Gram Sumangal (Anticipated Endowment Assurance for 15 and 20 Years)
5
Yugal Suraksha (Joint Life Endowment Assurance)
11
Gram Priya ( 10 years RPLI)
6
Bal Jiwan Bima (Children Policy)
12
Bal Jiwan Bima (Children Policy)

When you compare the statistical figures with LIC of India, the market leader in Indian having more than 71% market share, you can see that the market share of Postal Life Insurance is not negligible. Following table shows the comparative analysis of individual assurance policies.

Name of Insurance
Total number of policies as on 31.03.2013 (in crores)
Total Sum assured (Rupees in crores)
LIC of India
27.03
34,49,882
Postal Life Insurance
1.99
1,64,050

A picture of contribution of public and private sector insurance companies during the financial year 2012-13 is as follows.


Money Remittance :-
Money Order and Postal Order were the only means of money remittance in olden days, but now scenario has changed a lot and various e-enabled services has come into existence.  In order to compete with these changes, India Post has introduced a couple of new money transfer services.  Following are the money transfer services available in Post Offices.

  1.    Ordinary Money Order
  2.    eMO (Electronic Money Order)
  3.    iMO (Instant Money Order
  4.    IPO( Indian Postal Order)
  5.    e-IPO (Electronic IPO)
  6.    FPO (Field Postal Order)
  7.    IFS MO (MO through International Financial System)
  8.    MO Videsh ( Discontinued in February 2015)
  9.    Mobile Money Transfer
10.    Western Union Money Transfer
11.    MoneyGram
12.     Electronic Fund Management System (EFMS)
13.    DBT through CPSMS
14.     Electronic Clearing System(ECS)

Other Business :-
In addition to above said product or services, India Post is dealing with some other services also.  Most of them are e-enabled services, they are

  1.     Remotely Managed Franking Machine (RMFS)
  2.     ePayment
  3.     Retail Post
  4.     Sale of Mutual Fund
  5.     Sale of Penta phones
  6.     My Stamp
  7.     Railway Ticket booking
  8.     Air Ticket booking
  9.     Cable TV licence issue
10.      Pack Post
11.      Post Shope
12.      Philatelic Deposit account

Here number of parties or organisations using ePayment and Retail Post services is varying in different circles.

Following are the consolidated view of number of product or services of India Post.

SL No.
Category of business
Number of Service/Product
1
Postal/Mail Operation
46
2
Banking
12
3
Insurance
12
4
Money Remittance
14
5
Others
12

TOTAL
91

An organisation especially under the control of Government providing 91 types of service/product is truly a wonder. I can say without any doubt that no other organisation in India is providing this much number of services to its customers.

Another wonder is that there is no separate recruitment for separate category of business.  Each employees of India Post especially Postal Assistants and Postmaster should have thorough knowledge about each and every service of India Post and its related rules.  This shows the flexibility and potential of Postal employees.  Unfortunately they are comparing with bank employees and clerical staffs in the other Government departments.


In conclusion, India Post is a bundle of wonders and it cannot be compared with any other organisation in India since the reach and depth of India Post cannot be measured with single criteria.  In the profitability aspects, India Post is still working as a service oriented organisation with lot of social obligation.  Comparing the profitability alone is not feasible at its existing structure.


Written by: S Kumar, Speak Post

Editor S Kumar

A blogger from God’s own country, thinking about various things and speaking loudly about what he have learned and observed. And acting as one man Army against corruption and mismanagement.

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