The postal department has increased the rates of Speed Post deliveries by 42-56% from October 1. This is the first time since 2007 that the tariff has been revised.
Domestic charges have been increased from Rs 12 to Rs 17, including service tax, while the 'One India' tariff has gone up from Rs 25 to Rs 39. The department incurs a cost of Rs 54 on each dispatch but absorbs the loss given its public service mandate. Private couriers charge Rs 110.
"The biggest users of Speed Post are institutional users, law firms and corporate entities that dispatch bulk mails. Banks, for instance, use this service to send credit card statements, and even credit cards. Annual reports, high court papers are all sent by Speed Post," says outgoing director (headquarters) Abha Singh.
Singh points out that despite the increase, this service works out far cheaper than private courier firms. "The difference is particularly glaring with respect to foreign dispatches. You pay Rs 600 to a courier and merely Rs 150-odd to Speed Post delivery. Ordinary consumers are surprised to learn that we charge such low rates," she says.
On the occasion of World Post Day on Tuesday, the postal department announced a proposal to instal ATMs at several post offices in the state. "Banking services are available at several locations but this will enable anywhere, anytime banking. It will give easy access to electronic clearing services and fund transfer," said A K Sharma, chief postmaster general of Maharashtra and Goa.
World Post Day marks the institution of the Universal Postal Union way back in 1874 in Bern in Switzerland. In India, the department has come a long way from the time it merely couriered letters and parcels to a multi-utility facilitator of products and services. Sharma added there were plans to network all the post offices through computers. "We are partnering with firms like TCS for training staff, Infosys for full service integration and Sify will handle our network integration," he said.