In order to prune its Rs 6,000-crore annual revenue deficit, the Department of Posts on Friday held a review meeting chaired by Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha to discuss various proposals that could result into an additional Rs 1,000 crore in earnings every year, by the means of upward revision in rates of several postal products such as stamps, post-cards, inland letters, etc.
A senior government official said that last such revision was made in 2001-02, and a December 2015 report by the postal department found out that its expenses had risen by 262 per cent since the revision despite the rates of the products remaining the same.
During the meeting, when postal department officials apprised Sinha that the rates were decided by the finance ministry, the minister directed that a committee of professionals should be formed to decide on the prices of various postal products.
According to the official, the department has proposed increasing the prices of the 25 paise and 50 paise postcards to 2 rupees, and the price of the Rs 6- printed postcard to Rs 9 per printed postcard. Similarly, the price of an inland letter of Rs 2.50 denomination has been proposed to be increased to Rs 9.
The department also proposed to increase the cost of India Post’s parcel service to Rs 30 per 500 grams, compared with the prevailing Rs 19 per 500 grams. However, the minister told the department officials that this would be acceptable only if timely delivery of parcels is ensured.
In the review meeting, it was also highlighted that India Post had a miniscule market share in the estimated Rs 1.5-2.0 lakh crore parcel and courier market in the country. Sinha told the officials in the meeting that a strategy should be prepared to increase the India Post’s market share in the country’s courier market, especially considering the high rates charged by private companies.
India Post is already cashing in on the boom in e-commerce deliveries, especially the surging cash-on-delivery consignments of the country’s top online sellers — Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart and Myntra.
The postal department’s revenues by ways of COD consignments from e-commerce majors have surged to Rs 1,300 crore during the year ending March 2016, up from Rs 500 crore during the whole of 2014-15, and just Rs 100 crore in 2013-14. The deliveries are primarily directed at tier-II towns, and parts of the rural heartland, where India Post has unparalleled reach.
To take a stock of the proposals made on Friday, another such meeting has been planned next month.