The Union Government and the Postal Department are planning to merge the Post Office Savings Bank Scheme with deposit amount of more than Rupees10 lakhs crores with the recently created Indian Post Payment Bank (IPPB) which is not a Government Department. Thus the safety and security of lakhs and crores of depositors will be put at stake. This is nothing but privatisation of the Postal services against which all the employees in the Postal Department are on Nation-wide strike on 10th August 2022.
The Indian Postal Department which has survived the onslaught of liberalization through successful adaptation to the new environment is now in the queue for privatization by the Union Government. Realising that the letter mail communication is on the fast decline because of modernisation, India Posts have successfully embraced varieties of services like Aadhaar Enrolment and updation, Western Union Money Transfer; issuance of ID cards to the Public as proof of residence etc. besides Postal Savings Bank, Postal Life Insurance, Rural Postal Life Insurance, Speed Post Services, Payment under MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) which serve lakhs and crores of people.
The Postal Department is under the direct control of the Central Government and is now having 23 Postal Circles with more than 1,50,000 branch offices throughout the country. There are more than 2,00,000 regular Staff and 2,50,000 Gramin Dak Sevaks working in this big pan-Indian Department. Basically it is a service-oriented department with the Universal Postal Obligations. This Department is well prepared with modernization and today there is not a single post office without internet and computers. The Government has now unfolded its plans for privatization of this huge government department as part of its action to privatize whole of government and public sector undertakings.
With this aim, the Government has already through the ex-cabinet secretary Sri.T.S.R.Subramanian (Late) brought out a set of recommendations to bifurcate the Postal Department into lucrative profit making services and traditional loss making letter mail services and hand over the profit making services to corporates. It is well known that Corporatization is the first step towards privatization as it will encourage the process of selling shares to the private in these corporations. The Postal Department has currently chalked out a plan called “DAK MITRA” which is nothing but privatization of postal services.
Post Office Savings Banks Scheme to be merged with IPPB
The Government and the Department are also planning to merge the Post Office Savings Bank Scheme which is currently one of the major systems reaching out all villages through its deposit schemes and having deposit of more than 10 lakhs crores of rupees with the recently created IPPB, which is not a Government Department. IPPB is run as a corporation in which the shares of the Postal Department are more than 50% but due to continuous losses there is no dividend earned by the Department. The IPPB could muster only a small amount of deposits, despite free infrastructure facilities through Post Offices. Now the Government wants to throw away all the assets of POSB to IPPB which is headed by a MD and CEO from private field. This move of the Government will jeopardise the interests of lakhs of public who have abundant faith and trust in the brand name of India Post and deposited crores of rupees in the POSB Operations. All the safeguards available presently to the depositors will disappear once the merger of POSB with IPPB takes place.
Nationwide strike on 10th August
The Postal Employees Federations and the Unions are stiffly resisting the attempts of the Government to privatize. Presently both the recognized Federations the NFPE (National Federation of Postal Employees) and the FNPO (Federation of National Postal Organizations) with all its affiliated All-India Unions and Associations are organising a nationwide strike in the Postal Department on 10th August, 2022. The Unions and Associations working among Gramin Dak Sevaks are also joining the strike. The Strike on 10th August is preceded by various programmes of agitation. The Pensioners’ Associations in the Postal Department AIPRPA and NCCPA haVE called for total solidarity action in support of the striking employees. Central Trade Union CITU also has extended its full support to postal employees’ united countrywide strike action on 10th August 2022 and has called upon the working class and the people to organize solidarity in support of the striking postal employees. The success of this strike will save the Postal Department in the hands of the Union Government thus safeguarding the interest of crores of the people.