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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

India Post Payment Bank to open 650 branches this year

India Post Payment Bank (IPPB) is planning a major expansion with the addition of 650 new branches in the next four months, from just two – in Ranchi and Raipur – opened in January 2017.

India Post Payment Bank branches will be opened in 650 districts across the country during next four months. The plan is to cover all districts in the country with at least one branch and linking these with post offices in the surrounding areas.

``We intend to open at least one branch per district across the country. Each branch will be networked with about 1,200 to 1,500 post offices in a district,'' B V Sudhakar, secretary, department of posts, told news persons at a press conference in Hyderabad yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Core System Integrator in Hyderabad to integrate all postal activities to speed and improve efficiency of postal services, Sudhakar said that one branch per district will be set up initially to provide doorstep banking, especially in rural areas.

The Ranchi and Raipur branches, set up in January this year, are making significant strides by enabling financial inclusion, through direct benefit transfer services and also sale of third party products like insurance, he said.

Sudhakar said all branch post offices in the country will be covered under the Rural Information and Communication Technology and will be given solar-backed hand-held devises, which will function like a micro ATM.

These devices will perform both postal and savings bank operations.

As of now, the department has 978 standalone ATMs. The payment bank is  expected to install more ATMs with tie-ups with other banks. "By December 2017, we will integrate core system software including core banking, postal operations and savings bank which will also help us,'' he added.

The focus of the payment bank will be on door-step banking, for which a survey conducted by the department showed `huge' potential.

It will primarily focus on three products of financial inclusion, direct benefit transfer and door step banking.

The department will also be recruiting 55,000 Gramin Dak Savekas in rural areas out of which the process for filling up of 14,406 vacancies has already commenced.

Further, he said, Passport Seva Kendras will be opened at all over 800 Head Post Offices in the country by March next year.

The department is also ramping up its focus on speed post as a premium product for revenue generation. "Speed post facility will be made available in all branch post offices across the country by end of April,'' Sudhakar said.

The revenue from speed post services had gone up from Rs1,605 crore during 2015-16 to Rs1,740 crore in 2016-17.

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