Thursday, February 23, 2012

Postal Services in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

India Post provides postal services to the public through a large nation wide network of 1.55 lac Post offices. India Post was established on 1st October 1854 and besides communication services, it performs Financial Services, as Savings Bank, Sale of cash certificates, Postal life Insurance, Rural PLI, Payment of pension and value added services such as Speed Post , Business Post, Direct Post etc. In A & N Islands postal services are also running in broad way like in mainland.

During the British time there was only one post office at Ross Island for the entire group of Islands, where the then rules had their Headquarter.
At the end of the second world war the office of the Commissioner was shifted to the location where the Secretariat is situated now and along with it moved the Post Office also. This sub Post office was under the account jurisdiction of Head Post office of Pegu (Rangoon). At that time the mails were coming to Port Blair from three stations- Burma, Calcutta and Madras. Initially the frequency of ships was once in a month from Calcutta and Madras, and from Rangoon twice in a month. In the meantime two more Post office were opened at Chatham and Long Island. Thus when the British finally left India in the year 1947 there were three post offices in these group of islands. After Independence A & N Islands remained with India and so the Post offices were placed under account jurisdiction of Barrackpore Head Post office and administration of these Islands passed under the control of the Presidency Division, West Bengal with head quarter at Barrackpore. Subsequently, the Presidency Division was bifurcated and administrative control was vested with South Presidency Division with head quarter at Calcutta. With a view to cope up with the increasing demand from the administration as well as the settlers the first Postal sub division was created in May, 1961 and led to the creation of a full fledged Postal Division under the Administrative control of Superintendent of Post office on 27th April,1971. Thereafter, w.e.f. 19th September 1988 this Division has been placed under the Administrative control of the Director of Postal Services (JAG). A & N Division consist of 100 Post offices including Port Blair Head Post office with its 26 Sub Post offices and 73 Branch Post offices. The staff strength of the Dn is 158 and also 214 GDS employee. For mail collection 220 no. of letter boxes have been installed and for delivery 22 Postmen and 100 Gramin Dak Sevaks have been employed in Islands.

India Post has taken determined steps in accelerating computerization of Post office and introduction of IT enabled services in the islands. Port Blair Head Post Office is a Project Arrow office with its main objective to focus on cent percent efficiency , faster mail system, remittances, savings bank and office service level and modernize the look and feel with focus on branding, information technology, human resource and infrastructure in the Post office. 22 Sub Post Offices has been also covered under Project Arrow Phase-V.

With the induction of technology, the Department of Posts has computerized its 27 Post offices . For imparting training to the staff on departmental softwares , one Workplace computer Training Centre (WCTC) at Port Blair HO campus has been set up w.e.f 27.11.2010 at Port Blair HO Campus. For prompt redressal of Public complaints Computerized Customer Care Centres are working at Director office, Portblair HO and all 22 Project Arrow Post Office. For Speedy Service, Money Orders are converted into Electronic Money Orders (eMO) now without any extra charges. Apart from this an instant web based money transfer service Instant Money Order (iMO) has been introduced in Port Blair HO ,Junglighat SO, Haddo SO ,Aberdeen Bazar SO, Rangat SO and Mayabunder SO. It is very popular amongst business men and parents whose children are studying in mainland. It involves transfer of money from Rs.1,000/- to Rs. 50,000/-( Rs. 330/- commission for sending Rs.50,000/-, which is lesser than a DD commission ). International Money Transfer service (IMTS) is available in Port Blair HO, Havelock & Bambooflat, which allows instant payment of money within minutes of its transfer from more than 200 countries. India Posts has been engaged as a Registrar for providing enrollment facility to the citizen for procurement of Aaadhar Card issud by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Port Blair HO has been identified as UIDAI enrolment station which has been started enrolment since October 2011. Till the date, 515 no.of enrolment done.

Savings Bank facilities have been expanded in all the Post offices in A&N Islands offering a variety of savings options such as Saving Bank, Recurring Deposit, Time Deposit Monthly Income scheme , PPF, SCSS, NSC. These schemes are having attractive interest rates and also tax benefits. In Islands more than 1.6 lakh Savings accounts are running in Post Offices and about Rs. 68 crore has been deposited in POs upto Dec.2011. Payment of wages under NREGA is being disbursed to unskilled workers through 671 Accounts in Post offices in Islands. Postal Life Insurance (Estd 1884) is open for employees of all Central and State Government departments, Nationalized Banks, Public Sector Undertakings, Financial Institutions, Local Bodies like Municipalities and Zilla Parisads, Educational Institutions aided by the Government etc. for Govt. and semi Govt. Employees. Rural postal life insurance is also available for rural public. PLI/RPLI melas are being conducted in different Post Offices & other institutes for coverage of Insurance. 26 Dak Melas were conducted since April – Dec 2011 and procured 185 PLI and 382 RPLI policies with sums assured of Rs. 10.29 crore and Rs. 4.69 Crores respectively.

During the recent years, India Post has introduced many value added services. while Speed Post remain most popular premium service available in all Departmental Post offices in Islands. Speed Post is today the largest courier in India. Port Blair HPO is now converted in a Speed Post Intra Circle Hub. For corporate customers and to regular users Speed post offers home collection, credit facilities, on-line tracking, account management and personalized services. Express parcel post service is also available upto 35 kg. Business Post offers total business solution for all mailing activities includes collection, inserting, addressing, franking etc. Media Post provides opportunities to corporate customer /government organizations and other large private institutions to have their products /services advertised on the postal stationeries, letter boxes, mail van, post office premises etc. Bill Mail service provides posting of financial statements, bills etc. for Posting at least in 90 days, min. 5000 Articles, Rs. 3/- for 50 gms (for National Bill Mail Service-10000 articles). Under Direct post service delivery of Un-addressed mails, cards, brochures, questionnaires, Pamphlets, samples, promotional items like CDs/ Cassettes etc. are done through postman, whereas Retail Post offer sale of products/services through Post office Counters. e-Post is facility of transmitting and receiving messages through internet even for those who are not connected with the net. By using e-Post, e mail can be sent to a Post office for delivery through the Postman.

Collection of stamps and its study (Philately) is one of the oldest hobbies, which is still very popular. India Post issues Commemorative Stamps with First day covers and information Brochures. A number of beautiful stamps and philatelic materials have been brought out by the Department on various themes such as Indian Heritage, History, Forest, flora and fauna, Bridges, National Parks, Festivals of India, Famous Personalities etc. A Philatelic deposit account can opened with an amount of Rs.200/- or more at Head post office. India Post issued stamps related to A&N Islands viz Andaman Teal (23th Nov.1994), B.D Savarkar (20th May 1970), Cellular Jail (30th Dec. 1997), International Year of Ocean (30th Dec.1998), Ist sunrise of the Millennium at Katchal Island (Ist Jan 2000), Corals of India (22th Aug 2001), Endemic Butterflies of A&N Islands (2nd Jan 2008), Aldabra Tortoise (2nd Aug 2008).

Thus, India Post proposes to continue its efforts to harness its traditional strengths to modern management practices and appropriate technologies to become more responsive to public needs and expectation, and to make the services more customer friendly, while identifying new opportunities new opportunities to provide value added services and greater access to postal services, in a cost effective manner.

Krishna Kumar Yadav,Director Postal Services,Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Port Blair-744101

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