It was a historical moment for the 154 year old India Posts as it opened India’s first Post Office Savings Bank ATM in Chennai yesterday. This is certainly a big leap in technology for the postal department, as it faces immense challenge from the Internet and Mobile as means of communication is fast changing.
We had reported in 2011 that India Posts is planning to offer banking services as it had outsourced the operations to Infosys for implementing the same.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram inaugurated this service at Thiyagaraya Nagar Head Post Office (HPO) in Chennai. This movement of Post Office converting into an ATM is part of the government’s Rs 4,909 crore IT modernization scheme for the Department of Posts which was announced in the Interim budget for 2014-15.
Chidambaram said, “The IT modernisation scheme is aimed at making Department of Posts a completely technology-oriented one and today’s initiative is a step in that regard,”
The IT modernisation of India Posts plans to target 1.55 lakh post offices all over the country, which would be completed by next year.
The initial proposal is to open 1000 ATMs in post offices by end of 2014; and then another 1800 ATMs by the end of 2015.
As of today, 51 HPOs and 11 Sub-post offices have been “migrated” to the new IT infrastructure, covering 64 lakh accounts all over the country. These account holders will be able to use their post office savings bank account to transact at these ATMs.
Rs 700 crore has been allocated to implement the Core Banking Solution (CBS) in all these Post office ATMs so that customers from any post office can use any ATM just like banks operate today.
Earlier, a customer was assigned a particular post office, and all his savings used to be collected at the same office. But now, with the CBS solution, any customer from any post office can use any ATM all over the country.
By March 31, 2014, a total of 700 more post offices will be covered and all 26,840 post offices will be functional under CBS in another two years.
4 more such ATMs are ready to function in Delhi and Mumbai, and they would be inaugurated very soon.
Secretary of Department of Posts, Padmini Gopinath also added that every account holder of Post Office Savings Account will be provided an ATM card. If properly implemented, Post Office network of ATMs will become country’s largest network of ATMs and financial institution.
154 year old Department of Posts have over 4.5 lakh employees all over the country, and this new wave of modernization initiated by the Government will surely help millions of customers in rural areas as well as urban areas to avail world class banking facility, right from their post offices.