Showing posts with label India Post. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India Post. Show all posts

Monday, 6 February 2017

Why this Cheating from India Post Payments Bank?

First of all, don’t think that IPPB has made any financial malpractice while reading this headline. This is about an injustice made by IPPB towards some artists and MyGov initiative of Govt. of India.

I have a pain in my mind for criticizing IPPB, the long-cherished dream of India Post, at this moment when it’s first branches have been inaugurated at Ranchi and Raipur.  At the same time, I am writing this post with immense pleasure because the fact which I had explained earlier through my previous post “Total Confusion in IPPB Logo Design Competition” have come true.

I am not repeating the issues that I had kicked up but you can still read that post from the following link if you didn’t read that article or you forgotten the matter.

Now my questions are very simple.

1.   Where is the selected 20 logos?
2.   Who is the winner and who got the price money?

I am sure that no authority will answer these questions.  But since I have raised the issue and predicted something, I have the responsibility to answer these questions myself.  Before answering the questions, I am quoting some portion of my previous post here so that you can cross check the answer with this scenario.

 “Lots of questions remaining unanswered while seeing the review process.

1.  Whether it is a serious competition or for a media publicity?
2.  What is meant my Approved Submission?
3.  Whether actually reviewed all the submissions?
4.  Whether it is a part of preplanned drama?

What is in short?

1.  Inviting logos from public and declares price money.
2.  4861 logo submissions happening.
3.  Simply shown last submitted 600 logos are approved without making any review.
4.  Selecting 20 logos violating all logo criteria for voting.
5.  Other 4261 logos are still under the review process. “

In the above extract, I had raised so many questions and finally I had come to a conclusion.  Like earlier following are the answer to the question that I have raised now.

1.  Where is the selected 20 logos?

Actually, like everyone I don’t know what has happened for that 20 logos but I can presume something.  Due to the substandard quality of 20 selected logos, the authorities might have been ignored that.  Otherwise some expert scrutiny might have been done on other logos or they decided to drop the contest and take an advice or design from professional design institutions.

2.  Who is the winner and who got the price money?

Since the logo of IPPB is not from the so called selected 20 logos, there is no chance to declare a winner or give the price money.

What about new logo

The final logo of IPPB which I have shown below cannot actually be considered as a new logo.  The first condition of the IPPB logo design competition was it should be original.  But no one will say that the IPPB logo is original, instead it will say that it is a mere copy of India Post logo.  The only notable difference is the round shape of red background instead of rectangle.
I don’t know whether it can be registered as Registered Trade Mark or not. Even though IPPB is a fully owned company of India Post or India Post has no objection to take its logo for IPPB, since India Post is a Government Department, I am not sure about the legal implication behind the RTM.

If we leave the criteria, I personally loved the IPPB logo and it has all the brand image of India Post.  According to my opinion the dark theme color is the highlight of this logo and it is superb and it clearly distinguish from all other banks’ theme colours. Only a talented designer can choose a design like this.

The tagline “Aapka bank aapke dwaar” is an apt one for IPPB. My submission in this contest was “Your Nearest Bank”


Even though the IPPB logo design competition was very popular among public and it has got very good attention from medias, the authorities were not serious about this event.  Lots of mistakes, mismatches and suspicious thing had been seen everywhere and it has continued until the final selection of IPPB logo.

It is common that the logos of desired standard may not be received in a competition.  Then the organizers have the full right to cancel the contest and go for another logo.  This condition is also included in the terms and conditions of the contest. 

But here the scenario is different because without reviewing all the submissions by experts they have merely selected 20 below average logos for final voting. That is why the selected logos got negative feedback.  And without any official announcing or explanation they opted another logo for IPPB.

If they have the intension to use this logo for IPPB earlier, the pre-planned logo design competition drama could have been avoided. This is purely an injustice toward the persons who participated in the competition. The complete responsibility of the failure of this contest is vested up on the persons who authorized to review the submissions.

The only thing the authorities can do at this moment is to release an official explanation on this subject.  So, let us wait for that……

Monday, 26 September 2016

Total Confusion in IPPB Logo Design Competition

India Post had invited Logo and tagline for India Post Payment Bank (IPPB) from general public through MyGov portal of Government of India.  For better participation, invitation was conducted in the form of competition and declared a price money of Rs.25,000/- each.

The last date for submissions was 09.07.2016 in the earlier stage, but the date was re-fixed to 31.07.2016 due to poor participation.   Totally 4861 creations were received when submission closed.

Persons participated in this competition were eagerly waiting for the next stage of this competition after submitting their creativity.  They were regularly checking the status of their submission in the Activity point of MyGov account.

First abnormality in this competition was found just after few days of submission closure date and still continue.  Some figures shown in the web page made me confused.  IPPB logo and tagline design completion page in MyGov portal shows that total 600 submissions were approved and remaining 4261 submissions out of 4861 were under review process. See the screenshot below.

Still you can see this abnormality through the following link

Accidently or not, the webpage has given the facility for viewing the approved submissions.  Actually there was no review process happened in this competition because we can see lots of discrepancies in this regard.

Lots of questions remaining unanswered while seeing the review process.

1.  Whether it is a serious competition or for a media publicity?
2.  What is meant my Approved Submission?
3.  Whether actually reviewed all the submissions?
4.  Whether it is a part of preplanned drama?

It is clear that the submissions which are shown as approved have not been reviewed actually.  Because the last submitted 600 creations are blindly taken as approved submission.  Remaining 4261 submissions have been put it under the head “Under review”.  When you check the submitted date of the approved 600 creations, you can clearly understand the fact that something wrong happened.

All the approved submissions have been submitted on one month and one or two weeks ago. What a magic. Bulk approval has been done for the Logos submitted on those days.  How this happened?

Now the voting started for selecting the apt logo and tagline from 20 selected submissions.  But now the remaining 4261 submissions are under review.  When we login to the MyGov account, it also shows that your submission is under review.  How this happened?

Why this bad selection happened

Let us leave the above said discrepancies because everyone wants to get a good logo for IPPB.  So we can analyze the selected 20 logos.

Selected 20 logos are shown below

I respect and congratulate all the creators of these 20 selected logos and I understand the effort you put it on each creation.  But I have to express my views on these logos.  Don’t feel bad.

Most of the selected logos except two or three violate all the rules of modern logos and it is very amateurish in style.  And at the same time it is not in accordance with the conditions fixed and published by the authorities.

The most important among them is that the logo should be original.  The original in the sense, it should not be a modified form of other logo or should not have any special image or symbol that indicating some other organization.

Most of the logos in the selected list cannot be considered as original creation because they are using full or part of India Post logo in one or other way.  Some other logos are using the readymade clip art as portion in logos.  India Post is a Government department and IPPB is a fully owned Government Company incorporated under Indian Companies Act 1956.  Registration will not be possible if IPPB logo has any resemblance with India Post logo if it goes for registered trade mark. 

Modern logo should be in such a way that it can be easily marketable through web, social Medias or print media and its shapes can be clearly visible in all size and colours.  Logo should be impressive if we use it on any surface or object.  While considering the selected logos most of them lack these qualities.

The era of complex logos ends and now everyone is behind simple logos and most preferably square or round in shape because same can be used as Mobile App icon, Favicon, Software icon, Avatar image, etc.

If a professional logo designer makes a review on these selected logos, he never consider majority of them as deserving.

Two or three logos in the selected list are very professional in nature.  My doubt is only about the review criteria and who made this review and what about other submissions which are shown as under review.

 What is in short?

1.  Inviting logos from public and declares price money.
2.  4861 logo submissions happening.
3.  Simply shown last submitted 600 logos are approved without making any review.
4.  Selecting 20 logos violating all logo criteria for voting.
5.  Other 4261 logos are still under the review process.

What about my choice?

I will select two logos from this list as ideal logos for IPPB that is Logo 14 and 19.  I am not completely satisfied with these logos because it does not convey any brand image but it possesses almost all qualities of a good logo.


The initiative of Government is appreciable but the concerned department for whom it is carried out should pay adequate attention in the execution process.  Otherwise so many discrepancies will be happened and so many questions will be raised.  Then the activity planned for a good intention will be questioned.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Manipulation Software Spreading in Post Offices

Changes are happening everywhere and people are start using gadgets and computers on a larger scale.  As a result of this, new generation people are searching for various solutions for getting their work done very quickly and smartly by bypassing some traditional mechanism.

The spark of above said changes can be seen in the newly originated work culture of India Post employees also.  Through this article, I am trying to showcase you one of such changes happening in India Post.

The practice of using unauthorized Software Tools developed by officials of India Post or third party is increasing day by day.  We can see this activity from different perspective.  I cannot say blindly that whether this practice is good or bad.  I am just trying to watch this activity from different view point.

After reading this full article, surely you can make a clear decision or at least you can understand the facts.

Few years back, when an error shows while doing an operation in any of the modules, the official would call the concerned System Administrator and explain the error. Then he would execute a solution supplied either by CEPT Mysore or SDC Chennai.  If the solution was not readily available with him, he will call another System Administrator who is working nearby office and ask for the solution supplied by CEPT or SDC.

He would report the error to CEPT or SDC and would get solution with in one or two days if it is a new error.

Likewise if any report was not available in a particular version, they had to wait until the next version has been released.

Now everything has been changed.  Let us see some questions or statements frequently used in the conversation between staffs in India Post.

Do you have any tool to rectify error …………….…? 
Do you have any tools to change the status of accounts in database?  
Please send me the tool for reviving all silent accounts?
Have any Tool for taking that report?
Use that tool and clear the discrepancy quickly, etc.

In short, Tools rules the operations of India Post.  Every one asking for tools and more people start developing tools.  Officers are also formally or informally insisting for using these type tools. 

Majority of the people insisting or using the software are not well aware of the software development concept and database security issues. That is why I have come with this matter to explain the background.

Evolution and Cause of Birth

While analyzing the evolution of such tools, you can see that the reporting tools were the first of this kind.  In certain case some required reports may not be available in the official software but the data will be available in the database.  Inorder to overcome this issue, persons having good understanding about the database might have developed reporting software for taking a particular or number of reports.

After the development of different types of reporting tools by various ‘in-house’ developers, the developers had started exploring new possibilities through such tools which was actually a risky job in different ways.  Let us discuss risk factors later.

In certain cases, inorder to complete a work within a stipulated time, changing database value is easier than doing it though the actual module.  In such case a new updation tool may be developed for bypassing many application level activities.

Delay for getting solution from CEPT or SDC Chennai may be one of the reasons for developing updation tools.

Picture of support from CEPT has already written in the previous post See how CEPTsupport team distract employees through HDMS

Good numbers of newly recruited Postal Assistants are engineering graduates or highly qualified persons and some of them are interested in programming and application development.  If such persons are working as System Administrator, they can easily study the database structure and thereby they can develop software tools based on local database.  Such tools may make the developer more popular through various blogs or social media sites.

In short fame or popularity may be one of the reasons for such development.

What is behind the curtain?

You will be happy if the error gets solved while executing a solution/Fix tool. But have you thought about what had happened in background while using a particular tool.  I know, you might not think about it.  That is why I have written this article.

I shall try to explain the back ground of database tools and its applicability as simple as I can.

Let us assume that some gold or equivalent valuable are kept inside a room and this room has two doors, one front door and one back door.  This room also has a very small window.  Here there are four possibilities to access the valuable kept inside the room.

a)   Through the front door( The Direct way)
b)   Through the back door (In Direct way)
c)   Through the window(Difficult but possible)
d)   By making hole on the roof or wall(Extremely difficult but possible)

Likewise in database concept, there are many way to access or manipulate the data.  Database is the collection of valuable data stored on the server which can be compared with gold in the above example.  Here Database may be accounts details or article details or employee details, etc.

If you consider the Database of a Post Office, it is also accessible through different ways like below.

1.    Through Application Level: - Accessing database through Front Door, This is the direct way of accessing database by end user and it is very easy and completely legal.

2.   Through Database Engine: - This is a formal back door activity.  Formal way of accessing database by database administrators.

3.   Through Custom made executable: -   This is using the advantage of window.  Here window means the knowledge about the database structure and its week security.  Person with insider knowledge can access DB through this way.  This is also an unfair activity.

4.   Hacking: - This is lime destruction of wall or roof.   A hacker can access the database by destroying the security or can intrude by using the advantage of week database security.  This is purely illegal in nature.

Developers of the manipulation tools use the third option to alter the database. You may think that developing a small manipulation tool is very difficult and only a smart programmer can do this.  But actually anyone with basic understanding of SQL query and programming language can develop a manipulation tool.
Instead of running SQL query in the Query Analyzer, the developers will run the same query using executable files in such tools. A programmer can include any number of queries in one exe file so while running this file he can make any modification in any database according to his will without your permission.
He can change the balance of all accounts in Sanchay Post or can delete all accounts by writing a single line of code.  In short the manipulation is as much as easy by using executable.

Inserting values in some columns of a table in a database according to the will of programmer is very common while developing a solution fix exe.  In certain circumstances while developing a solution exe, the programmer cannot insert the original values back into a particular column due to various constraints and such values will not be affected by the working of an application. In such cases developer of the tool may insert dummy value in to that field.

Such changes will not be identified by an end user but even if it will not make any adverse effect now, it may be questioned in future if any fraud has been committed.

Major Threat

99% percentage of the Software tools spreading and using in the Post Offices are developed with good intension.  They may not make any unnecessary changes in database.  There is another side for this case.  You people knowing only about the fair tools spreading through blogs or social Medias but there may be some other secret tools spreading or exchanging for malpractice or fraud.

Even if chances are very rare, special care should be given while preparing for CBS migration.  A culprit can make changes in database using this method without knowing any person and can reap the advantage after migration from any other office.

There is another chance for unnecessary alteration of database due to partial knowledge of the developer.  The change may not be intentional but it is also dangerous.

Administrative offices are very keen about Data Entry module and they are reluctant to give permission for data entry.  Because they think that data entry module is the only means through which a Post Office staff can do fraudulent activity.

But persons having knowledge in programming are actually laughing while hearing such comedies.  At the same time Administrative offices are silent about the use of manipulation tools which are more vulnerable than data entry. But in some places they are also encouraging database manipulation and tool developing.  This is actually giving license for doing fraud.

The administrative staffs are well aware that getting a solution from concerned software development centre is not practical and they are reading and hearing every day about the lapses from the part of Development centres.  So they may be forced to do such promotion due to pressure of circumstances.

How to Avoid This Threat

This is very simple as below.

1.   Avoid using unnecessary outside tools or Fix.
2.   Use the solution provided by official software development centres only.

3.   If it is absolute necessary, please receive from reliable source and verify the credibility of the developer.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Challenges in Pension Payment through Post Office Savings Account

As all of you know that the Direct Beneficiary Transfer (DBT) is going to implement on larger scale in all places.  The beneficiaries are going to receive their pension either through Aadhaar linked bank or Post Office Saving Account instead of receiving through eMOs.

This Public Finance Management System (PFMS) formerly known as CPSMS (Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System) is an initiative of Government of India to eliminating the existing intervening layers in fund disbursement.

As far as India Post is concerned it is a big challenge in different ways.  Proper planning and precaution should be made for the effective implementation of DBT through PFMS.  Otherwise large amount of public agitation will have to be faced by Post Office staffs.

Theoretically it very easy and every one can implement this without any issue.  But in reality it is not so easy.  Following points should be read for understanding why I have said that it is not so easy.

Challenges in Technology

India Post is using the same channel that they used in the EFMS in NREGA payment.  Present EFMS in Post offices is not an error free mechanism even if it handles only limited volume of accounts.  So many issues are still there to be solved in various Post Offices.

Complexity in process is the main reason for the issues in the present EFMS.  So many manual intervention and machine processing is needed to credit an amount in accounts in Sub Offices.  If anything wrongly happens either in HO side or in SO side, the amount will not get credited in the corresponding accounts.

So many external factors like proper net connectivity, performance of computers, proper maintenance of communication module, etc. also determine the success of a file transfer and it’s processing. 

Even in NREGA FTO with the lesser number of accounts is taking abnormal time for processing in HOs where large numbers of NREGS accounts are opened in various Sub Offices.

While coming to DBT the volume would be very huge both in terms of number and amount so it needs extra care for processing.  Processing huge number of FTOs at a single stretch will definitely attract various types of transmission issues in eMO client since the system and networks are very slow.

In order to overcome this issue, special FTO processing strategy should be adopted especially in HOs.

Counter Management and Crowd Control

Abnormal counter traffic in single time would be a main head ache in its implementation.  Unlike eMOs beneficiaries or their representative will directly approach Post office for withdrawing the amount from their SB Accounts.  The large number of people will assemble in the morning itself at the Post Office counter and will ask for their amount before doing delivery related works or Branch Office dispatch.

The abnormal crowd in the counter will also affect the normal business of the Post Offices.  If it goes without any control surely it will end with clash between PO staffs and public.  In order to avoid these circumstances controlled disbursement method should be adopted.

Crowd can be controlled by giving limited number of token in Advance.  The number of tokens should be decided according to the work load and number of staffs in the office.
Allotting separate day for a particular range of accounts is another solution.  That means account numbers should be divided into different groups and each group should be allotted with separate week days for the disbursement.

Payment through Postmen or delivery staffs is another way for easy and reliable way of disbursement.

Most of the beneficiaries approaching Post Office are may not be able to fill the withdrawal slip independently.  This is another issue to be faced in the PO counter.

Difficulty in Cash Management

As far as B Class and C class offices which are not directly linked with any Bank are concerned, the cash management is another issue in huge pension disbursement.  Earlier itself it was an issue when huge numbers of pension money orders were received but a Postmaster or Postmen can limit the payment according to the circumstances.
But here Postman or Postmaster cannot predict the number of persons going to approach the office on a particular day.  At the same time maximum cash limit of these offices are very negligible compared to the actual requirements.

Timely cash conveyance should be arranged inorder to avoid public agitation in this special circumstance and maximum office should be attached with nearby Banks.

Chances of Mistakes and fraud

This is the most important concern in everyone’s mind because counter staffs cannot identify the beneficiary with the help of signature in the withdrawal slip.  Most of the beneficiaries are putting thump impression in the withdrawal slip.  Matching thump impression is not possible at present with available facility.

Photos pasted in the passbooks can be used up to a certain limit to identify the beneficiary but it is not practical in all situations.

Since the separate rule is not formed for the pension payment through POSB, withdrawing through messenger is another head ache for the counter staffs.  Genuine and fake messengers cannot be identified because of lack of signature.  Possibility of withdrawal by any of the family member without the consent of the original beneficiary cannot be rejected.


Concerns are not ending. But India Post needs to prove its ability to succeed in big initiative like this since it a part of e-governance or Digital India initiative.  Officials in all levels should study or handle this case very carefully and should approach very practically otherwise it will be a big flop in all sense.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

India Post Carrying Ugly Face in Cyber World

Every time when I see the website of India Post, my mind will be filled with so many questions and concerns.  The first question will be “Why Department of Post is not utilizing its website effectively?”  Now the websites are the face of an institution in the Cyber world and people give significant importance to the quality of the website when they assess an organisation.  But in case of DOP, this face is not all an attractive one.

As you all know, India Post is on the way of sophistication in all the fields including technology and operations.  But without building a quality website, how India Post can say that they are on the way of technological renovation.

You may think that I am wrong on this subject because the present website of India Post may be good and sufficient according to your opinion. I respect your opinion, but after reading this article you have to think whether I was correct or not.

The definition of websites has changed a lot; once it was a place for mere presentation of information.  But now the websites are the part of online branding.  Since my areas of expertise are online brand building and SEO, I can give you a clear cut review of India Post website.

Instead of going for more technical, I shall make a review on the basis of visible elements which is more understandable for non-technical persons too.

1.  Template Width and Overall Look

The overall look of the present India Post website is very basic. There is no doubt in this even for person having basic knowledge in web world.  This type out dated templates are not using in any of the standard websites at present.

This is an era of High Definition (HD) visuals and resolutions of the gadgets are increasing day by day.  So a trendy website must be in a full width template and it should have a sufficient space for showing information in legible letters.  Big fonts and large banners are the specialty of the modern websites.

2. Responsive Template

This is the ability of the website template to change the style according to the size and resolution of the screen through which it is watching.  In simple words, you can enjoy the website in all size of screens without any difficulty. The user experience is same in the computer monitors or in the Tablet or in the smartphones.  The content and style will get adjusted according to the size of the screen.

In the recent years, the web traffic from mobile gadgets like tablets and smartphones are increasing drastically. But keeping separate template for mobile device is not advisable in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.  Making the website responsive should be the motive of every webmaster now days for exploring the benefits of SEO.

While coming to India Post website, it is not at all a responsive one and it is not optimized for mobile devices.  Through the following picture you can see the difference in the mobile view of and India Post website.

3.  Social media URLs and Plugins

Social media pages are vital part of an Institution and it is the presence of an organisation in the social media.  As the name indicates social media Vanity ULR is the major attraction in the social media presence.  Vanity URL or Custom URL is the easy identifiable or easy memorable URL of a social media business page.  In order to get a vanity URL, certain condition should be satisfied in some social media sites like Facebook and Google Plus.

India Post is a complete failure in this field.  They don’t have a custom URL even in Facebook or Google Plus, two most popular social media sites in India.  The higher authorities of India Post are actually unaware of effectiveness of social media marketing.   So they have not given any extra attention to this part.

A small initiative taken by Postal Directorate through their order No.11-01/2015-BD&MD was actually amateurish.  Instead of obtaining a custom URL they simply circulated the default complex Facebook URL.  Same URL is updated in the India Post website.  This is against all branding concepts.

A well planned brand will have social media page with vanity URL as its brand name.  See the custom URL of SPEAK POST below.

While coming to social plugins, India Post never attempted to add such plugins into its website.  Plugins in the form of Share, Recommend and Like buttons will increase the presence of websites in the social media.

4.  Quality of Slider and Images

Quality of the images used in the website plays a vital role in the overall look of the site especially when it uses in the sliders.  And at the same time clumsy animation should be avoided. 

In order to make website more appealing, separate banners or slider images should be designed with the help of professional graphic designer.  Wording on the banner should be minimum and in legible large sized fonts.

The images used in the India Post website are of substandard quality.  Most of the pictures used in the site were not designed for website.  Banners and images designed for some other advertisement or campaigns have been taken as part of the website.  If you analyse the images in the India Post website you can see the logo in all banners.  That means the images were taken from some other brochures.  Actually there is no need to place India Post logo in all banners which are used in a website because this will place the website in a lower level.

From the following picture you can understand that the banners used in the India Post website are not professionally designed.

5.  Browser Friendly

A standard website will load in almost all web browsers without any issue and gives same user experience.   India Post website is purely version specific and it will not give same user experience in all platforms.

6.  Standardization of Margins and Padding

If you analyse a beautiful website, you can see that one of main reasons for the attractiveness of that webpage was due to its standardized margin or padding.  A professionally designed template surely will have uniformity in margins or padding.  Padding means space between content elements and its border.

The developers of the India Post website have not given any significance for the margins and paddings.  This carelessness placed the website into a next lower level. 

See the image below to understand the mistakes in padding or margin.

7.  Colour Theme and Arrangements

You cannot apply all colours into one website if you are looking for stylish website.  You have to select two or three colours as the base colour and can apply different shades of these colours when needed.  Avoid contrast colours from template and images for standard looking.

Arrangement of gadgets or different element of content is as very important as colour theme.  Arranging appropriate item in the appropriate place is the main challenge in this process.  Most wanted or items to which more attention is needed should be displayed in the prominent place above the fold.  Least important item should not occupy more space from home page.

Style should not be affected while arranging elements in the website.  Arranging more elements in single page and putting un-even white space will reduce the beauty of the site.

India Post website is violating all the above said rules.  The developers have arranged the elements without any style conscious.  Arrangement in the home page is very clumsy and childish.  Unnecessary white space is another fault from webmaster.

8.  Multi lingual versions

Killing process of India Post website has been completed with the addition of translation widget.  This facility is good but it will not blend in all templates.  You have to consider so many factors before adding such widgets.  Fist is whether important section of the webpage is translatable or not. Second is whether web page contains more images another is whether the size of the translated texts will blend with the original template or not.

While coming to India Post website, even after translating to some other language, the website stands as somewhat same as its English version.  Even Header and Menu heads, most important elements in a website are not in a translatable format.  I think it is in image form.   And at the same time latest news section is showing in English format even after translation.  In short there is no impact in the home page after translation. And at the same time the translation widget is not blending with the template in any way.


In my opinion India Post has not explored the possibility of its website.  If it uses the heavy traffic of India Post website wisely, it will be another potential area of business.  I shall write a separate post on this subject later.  Many other points are there to be highlighted but stopping with this much and expecting a beautiful face in near future itself.  

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Throw Windows use Open Source and save India Post

Before going for in details, I shall give you an overall intention of this article because some of you may not understand the technical terms in heading itself or some of you may think that this article is meant for techies.

Actually this article is not going to elaborate any technical issues or matters.  More than that of technological aspects, I am giving more importance to spending of Nation’s money and thereby trying to give an insight into how we can spend Nation’s wealth in productive manner.

As all of us know, India Post is a Government of India entity and all the spending is the contribution of the general public.

Every one is saying every time that Department of Post is huge loss making institution and it has to be reduced by introducing various strategies like reducing staffs, increasing the charges of various services, introducing new services using new technologies, etc.  Our thoughts will not go beyond that.

India Post is spending crores of rupees for the technological renovation every year.  Most of the decisions taken in the higher level in connection with technological implementation are only the continuation of the existing mechanism.  They are afraid of making some experiments in this field.  Due to this only, India Post is making huge recurring expenses in certain areas.  

Use of Operating Systems in India Post is one of such decisions which could have been taken in the earlier stage of computerization itself. 

Now India Post is depending only on Windows for running its software across the country.  Unlike other organisation, even a spending on ribbon cartridge is huge expense for Dop since the number of offices is very high.  Then think of the huge expense which is incurring while purchasing windows.

Various strict measures are taking in divisional and Circle level inorder to reduce the running cost each division or circle.  But why top authorities are not concerned about the huge expense recurring due the use of Windows Operating system.

While reading this, so many questions may rise in your mind like how windows incur huge expense?  Whether use of windows is an expensive activity?  If we do not use Window, what we will use?

I know that you have so many questions to ask.  I shall try to answer some of your questions.

How Windows incur huge expense?

India Post is spending crores of Rs for purchasing Windows operating systems either in the forms of separate license or in the form OEM license. 

For better understanding I shall explain the word OEM.  OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer.  If you purchase branded Desktop or laptop preinstalled with original windows OS, you are also purchasing OEM version of windows.  The price of windows is included in the price of PC.

Every time India Post upgrades its hardware, they need to buy latest version of Windows OS.  So we cannot say that this is only a onetime expense instead it is recurring in nature.

If it uses a Proprietary OS, the expense of related software should also be considered while assessing the cost factor.  Every Post Office are using Microsoft SQL server for its database management and each post office is using highly expensive ativirus software.  It is another huge expense for India Post.  In the sense, uses of windows pave the way for another expense.

Inorder to give overall picture of expense, I have created a table with proximate numbers of computer used in different units in India Post.  After analyzing the table, you decide whether the use of windows is expensive or not. 

No of Computers in India Post

Name of Units
Total No. of offices
Approximate No.of Computers
Circle Offices
Regional Offices
Divisional Offices
Circle Stamp Depots
Postal Store Depots
RMS Divisional offices
Postal Training Centres
General Post Office
Head Post Office
Sub Post Office
Sorting Hubs
RMS Offices

Total No. of Computers


Total Expense (100089x10000*)
*approximate cost of Windows and related software
Spending more than 100 Crore rupees merely for Windows is not a good move for India Post.

Computers used in the Postal Directorate, Software development centres, Sub Divisional offices, Speed Post centres and some specialized centres are not included in the table due to lack of availability of figures.  So the actual figure will be more than that of figures shown in the table.

What we will use instead of Windows?

Normally this will be your next question in this regard.  Answer is Open Source Operating System based on Linux.  Some of you may not understand what Open source software is and how it differs from windows.

In simple words, Open Source software is free software both for commercial and personal use.  At the same time the source code is open for modification and customization.  On the other hand Windows is a Proprietary OS and need to pay for personal and commercial use.  We cannot make any modification in Windows according to our needs.

Linux is the powerful and most commonly used open source platform across the world.  Now majority of the giant companies have switched over to open source platform from proprietary OS due to many factors.  

What about the security aspects?

No compromise can be made in security aspects whether it is proprietary or open source platform.  But one thing I can say is that the Linux OS is more secure than Windows.

Google, the final word in web world had already restricted the use of Windows operating system for their internal purpose due to security concerns in the middle of 2010 itself.  Instead of Windows they had started using Linux and Mac OS.

All the giant companies like Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Amazon, etc. are using their own customized version of Linux Operating System.  So why we are more concerned about security aspects.

Scope in India Post

The things are easier than even before because India Post is moving to web applications in almost all fields.  Till recent years the India Post was depending only on windows form applications which is not cross platform software. (Cross platform software means software which can be used in different types of OS)  All the applications developed by CEPT are based on Windows and .Net framework and these are all the output of Microsoft Visual Studio.

The amazing list of software used in India Post and its applicability has alredy mentioned in my post India Post an Unknown Wonder.

Scenario has changed a lot and now tech world is spinning around the word ‘software independence’.  So CEPT should start developing independent software (cross platform) even if India Post is now running on windows platform. 

India Post should select any one of the variants of Linux as its base OS for their applications and should develop software or web applications based on that OS.

Even though it is very difficult in the beginning stage, it will give more possibilities and flexibility afterwards.

One thing should remain that “You cannot reach as high as Google, Facebook or Amazon without software independence.” And “if you use Windows all time, you will be a slave of Microsoft all time.”
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