Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How PM Modi's Digital India Will Empower the Postman

In the age of e-mails, the postman could be relevant again.

As part of its Digital India programme, the Narendra Modi government plans to tie up with major e-retailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Myntra for them to use the postal department's services to deliver consumer goods in remote areas of the country.

Minister of Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad is expected to meet Sachin and Binny Bansal, the founders of e-commerce giant Flipkart soon to hold detailed discussions. He will also meet other e-tailers.

In preliminary conversations, government sources said, the companies have raised concerns like how the postman will be tracked real-time - a must-have in effective e-commerce - who the single-point contact will be and also efficiency in a department not famous for its timely delivery.

Right now, the postal department can only track a parcel from one centre to another. The government has said it is ready to upgrade technology at post offices, including arming postmen with mobile phones, to address some of these concerns.

The Modi government expects its digital impetus to reach broadband services to far-flung rural areas. The postal department's wide network connects far-flung areas of the country. It employs more than 4.5 lakh people.

Earlier this month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had met both PM Modi and Mr Prasad on his first visit to India and offered to help connect the country's remote villages to the Internet. He said he was excited about Mr Modi's Digital India initiative and the opportunity it offered.

In August this year, the textile ministry had announced an agreement with Flipkart to provide an online marketing platform to handloom weavers in the country to boost the sector and boost manufacturing in the country.