Communications and Information Technology

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Communications and Information Technology in the country is handled by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The Ministry contains three departments namely:

  1. Department of Posts
  2. Department of Telecommunications
  3. Department of Information Technology

POSTS

  • The modern postal system was established in India by Lord Clive in the year 1766 and it was further developed by Warren Hastings in the year 1774.
  • The expansion of its network was made during the year 1786 to 1793.
  • For the first time, the post offices were regulated through an Act of 1837 on a uniform basis to unite all the post office establishments throughout the then existing three Presidencies into one all-India Service.
  • Thereafter, the Post office Act of 1854 reformed the entire fabric of the Postal system and the post offices of India were placed on the present administrative footing on 1st October 1854, when the first postage stamp valid across the country was issued at an affordable and uniform rate of postage, fixed by weight and not by distance.
  • The statute presently governing the postal services in the country is the Indian Post Office Act, 1898.
  • Mail order services were started with the value payable system introduced in 1877, while fund remittances at the doorstep became possible from 1880 through money order services.
  • With the introduction of the Post Office Savings Bank in 1882 banking facilities were accessible to all and by 1884 all Government employees were covered by the Postal Life Insurance.
  • Now, the Postal Service Board, the Apex management body of the Department, comprises the Chairman and six Members.
  • At the time of Independence there were 23,344 post offices throughout the country. Of these 19,184 post offices were in the rural areas and 4,160 in the urban areas.
  • Today, India has the largest postal network in the world with 154,856 post offices, of which 139,164 (89.78%) are in rural areas and 15,692 (10.22%) are in urban areas. Thus, the network has registered nearly seven—folds growth since Independence, the focus of this expansion having been the rural area.
  • Expansion of the postal network, especially in rural areas, has to a great extent been brought about by opening part time Gramin Dak Sewak Post Offices, a system unique to the Department of Posts.
  • Under this system, postal personnel, called Gramin Dak Sewak are employed, to run the post office for a period not exceeding five hours, and to deliver and convey mails on payment of a certain allowance.
  • On an average, a post office in India serves an area of 23 sq. km and a population of 7,815 people.
  • The postal network consists of three categories of post offices, viz. head post offices, sub post offices and extra departmental branch post offices.
  • In addition to post offices, basic postal facilities are also offered through Franchisee Outlets and Panchayat Sanchar Seva Kendras.
  • Franchisee Outlets are opened in urban areas where it is not possible to open a regular post office. In this scheme, only specified counter services are franchised, whereas transmission and delivery of mails along with small savings schemes are not franchised.
  • Panchayat Sanchar Kendras are opened at Gram Panchayat Headquarters where post offices do not exist. This scheme is implemented by Gram Panchayats through an agent appointed by them.
  • As on 31.3.2013 there were 1,749 Franchisee Outlets and 3,232 Panchayat Sanchar Seva Kendras (PSSKS) functioning in the country.
  • Post offices have been entrusted with disbursement activities of various Government sponsored Social Security Schemes like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS) and Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).
  • Providing services to third parties such as collection of data for compilation of Rural Consumer Price Index (CPI) on behalf of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation is another emerging business area, along with making the rural postal network a significant component of India’s emerging country-wide digital payment network.
  • For this purpose, each GDS post office is being provided connectivity to the Central Server of the postal network, along with a Micro-ATM enabled point-of-sale machine.

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