In a typical pat on a fading institution of yesteryears, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to cheer up the visitors on Tuesday saying the Indian Post can become a driving force for the Indian Economy, just like the Indian Railways.
While Indian Railways failed miserably to meet the huge rush of passengers despite tatkal, premium tatkal, and all other tactics to dissuade daily rush to railways, the Indian postal network was any day efficient but for the modern-day e-mail that replaced its necessity in daily life.
While the US is fast closing down the postal network, Japan is diverting the huge network of mini postal offices to savings or insurance centres for the elderly. Unless the government vouches such new role for the postal department, it is unlikely to survive beyond 10 years from now.
Even the recommendations of the task force set up under TSR Subramanian failed to explore the use of postal service assets in rural areas and cities alike. The Prime Minister was right when he said, “the postman, along with the teacher, is the most respected Government employee in rural areas.”
The Prime Minister said post offices in rural areas can be used to deliver services and important government information to individual households. But, what’s the use? With online transfer of subsidies directly to the rural folk, radio and smartphones providing direct service to the farmer whether in his remote village or farm, it is just not possible to see the viability of the postal office and its network today.
Otherwise, the postman, like the teacher, is still the most-respected government employee all over the country. Instead they should be merged with local schools to make them deliver the education needs through Internet-based broadcasts.