The khakhi clad Indian postman on his bicycle remains a fixture in any idyllic post-independence scene. He would tinkle his bell, and the expectant households would rush out to get news from the distant dear ones. In an age where there were no telephones, and a trunk call was a sign of emergency, letters were the most used means to convey family news.
All hopes and wishes were assigned to this messenger on cycle, who would often read and write letters for the illiterate simple village folks. In this way, he would be ingrained in their lives. In fact, writers like R K Narayan would epitomise such characters in his story “Malgudi Days”.
(Image credits: ytimg)
Even the Telegram was considered an elite facility. It was recently shut down, after servicing the country for 163 years. There is an incident where a government officer was charged with corruption for sending a personal telegram to a relative when he was visiting their village for work. Such an instance reminds us of the distance we have travelled on technological advances.
But now that the postman is a rare species, does it mean the city dwellers can do without the postal service. That is a very wrong notion to behold. Our Amazon and Flipkart guys would be like lost souls orbiting the universe without the Indian Postal system. Every house is neatly grouped into numbers, and every area into pincodes. Without the pincode, your house is untraceable on their delivery routes. There are a total of 19100 Pin codes in India.
India Post has tied up with Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart-Myntra. Their revenue from Cash on Delivery consignments has befitted all stakeholders. The deliveries are primarily directed at tier-II towns, and parts of the rural heartland, where India Post has unparalleled reach.
We even need the postal system to place order on McDonalds or Domino’s. When you can’t pinpoint your landmark well, the person on other side will calm you down and ask for your pincode.
Beyond the e-commerce network, Indian postal system has taken on the banking network in rural areas. From Saving certificated to fund transfers into Aadhar accounts, Post Offices are turning into monetary hubs in the hinterland villages. They account for more than half of small saving account in India. They are the guaranteed means to turn the dream of 100 per cent financial inclusion into a reality.
The share of these small savings has more than tripled since 1980-81. While some of this growth can be attributed to the administered interest rates and the tax incentives associated with the small-savings schemes, due credit must be given to India Post for mobilising such large amounts across the country.
So, while you may think that the cycle borne postman needs a job reallocation, the Indian Postal system has larger dreams. While its established system is piggy backing the e-commerce boom.