CHENNAI: In a bid to bridge the digital divide in rural India, India Post is all set to roll out a Rs 1,370-crore mega project in Tamil Nadu, according to which 1.3 lakh postmen in rural areas would be provided with network connected hand-held devices, which would aid them in postal delivery.
Addressing a press conference, Post Master General of Chennai region Merwin Alexander and Post Master General, Mails and Marketing, S C Barmma told reporters here on Tuesday that a total of 1,000 devices would be provided in the branch post offices in the state.
Just like Chennai rural post offices, the central, southern and western region would also be getting 250 devices each. The state has a total of 9,287 branch post offices.
The device, which will have a printer, camera, scanner, a sim card and finger print recognition device, would be connected to a base server.
It will have a biometric module to authenticate the identity of an individual by using Aadhar number and a solar powered panel for charging terminals. The device would also be used for savings bank transaction as well as money orders, said Alexander. This will help in the financial inclusion of people of rural India besides tracking the movement of postmen through GPS, he said.
India Post has started training Branch Post Masters on how to use the hand-held devices. “We have started the preparation work to launch the project,” said Alexander.
Interestingly, India Post is also planning to install solar panels at every branch offices as the devices would be charged through them.
On the revenue front, India Post during 2014-15 has earned a revenue of 11,000 crore of which 10 per cent of it comes from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. “The state is ranked next to Maharashtra when it comes to maximum contribution of revenue from the states. Maharashtra’s contribution is Rs 1,500 crore” he said. But India Post is facing a huge challenge as the expenditure overshoots revenue. “We have a expenditure of Rs 17,000 crore. We are trying to bridge the gap,” said Alexander.