Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for Communications & IT and Law and Justice, said that a group constituted by the Prime Minister, consisting of the Secretary of the Postal department, is looking into making of a financial institution for Postal savings.
He was inaugurating the Postal Savings Banks Forum being organised by World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), the National Savings Organisation of the Finance Ministry and the Department of Posts in New Delhi. He said the present government wants to promote financial inclusion and the Jhan Dhan Yojana is a big effort in this direction. Another programme of the government of ‘Digital India’, which is steered by his ministry, also aims at digital inclusion and digital empowerment of rural poor.
The minister informed delegates from various countries that Post Office Savings Bank is one of the oldest and largest savings institution in the country and it also has the largest outreach in rural India, and more so, in backward and remote areas. He expressed happiness that the major asset of the postal institution, that is its connectivity on the ground is sought to be used for promoting e commerce in the country.
Secretary, Department of Posts Srimati Kavary Banerjee, in her key note address informed that the Department’s network of thousand post offices significantly outnumbers the combined number of branches of all commercial banks taken together.
The post office savings schemes hold a total of 312 million accounts, which is more than the number of accounts held by any commercial bank. More importantly, the social sector disbursements done through the post offices have succeeded in bringing a total of about 80 million previously unbanked individuals into the fold of formal financial institutions in the last five years.
All these have led to a change in the perception about the Post Office among the public as also within the organization. Consequently, India Post is now perceived as a potential key facilitator of financial inclusion in the country, having a role in promoting the country’s socio-economic development, she added.
The theme of this year’s Postal Savings Banks Forum will be "The rising force of postal banking in the retail banking market".