The Indian postal services that has been backbone of communication in this huge country is now preparing itself to embrace technology. The department is planning to offer e-stamps and upgrade their IT infrastructure. For the IT infrastructure upgrade, the department has sanctioned around $223 Million (or 1,000 Crore INR). IT majors Capgemini, Wipro, TCS, Infosys, HCL, IBM and HP are in talks for this project which expected to be a two to three years contract.
The project is part of the India Post 2012 plan and the department expects to increase efficiency in their HR, financial services, mail operations and postal insurance divisions. The Indian postal services have 155,015 post offices across the country out of which 12,604 offices have been computerized. By 2012 the plan is to get all the offices equiped with computers and able to communicate with each other, which is not possible as of today. The Department of Post talking about the project said, “DoP is faced with twin challenges of increasing competition and continuing advances in communication technology, especially in mobile telephony and the internet. In order to provide the best-in-class customer service, deliver new services and improve operational efficiencies, DoP has undertaken an end-to-end IT modernisation project to equip itself with requisite modern tools and technologies.”
The other announcement from the Department of Post (DoP) is about offering e-stamps to replace the paper stamps. US firm Accenture has been roped in for the project which according to an official should replace paper postage stamps within two years. The two main benefits of e-stamps are:
- reduce the rampant losses incurred due to stamp forgery by cutting printing costs,
- making it easier for users to get the stamps.
Based on numbers shared by the department, there was close to $136 Million (Rs 606 crores) worth of stamps sold in 2008-09 and a loss of $811 Million (Rs. 3,638 crores) was reported with a 34% jump in expenditure. Both these projects undertaken by the department are refreshing and amazing on parts of the bureaucrats involved. It was a pleasant surprise to see DoP having twitter presence too.