BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Covid pandemic has brought untold misery to the people, hitting household incomes hard, the India Post seems to have a different story to tell.
Despite the crippling impact of the virus, the Odisha circle of Department of Posts (DoP) has witnessed a significant growth in small savings and insurance premiums.
The circle has garnered savings deposit of Rs 216.35 crore and insurance premiums of over Rs 469.5 crore from across the State in the last fiscal. A whopping 7.8 lakh accounts were also opened in a year.
The State has 7,300 post offices with around 2.2 crore accounts. The growth has continued this fiscal too as Rs 50 crore of deposits and Rs 152.63 crore of premiums have been collected till July.
Officials said, as income of people was severely hit due to loss of jobs and movement of people restricted following the Covid outbreak, small savings depositors reposed faith on the post offices.
All post offices in the State were functional despite all odds during the pandemic. Postmen were among the very few categories of public servants on road doing door delivery of mail and money orders everyday.
Chief Postmaster General (CPMG) Suvendu Swain said every second person in the State has a savings account with India Post. "The growth in number of new savings accounts and business indicates the turnaround time. Apart from the deposits, payments of around Rs 558 crore were home-delivered during the period through India Post Payment Bank (IPPB)," he said.
In order to provide relief to the rural savings account holders, India Post has recently raised the withdrawal limit at post office gramin dak seva branches from Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000. This apart, various lucrative schemes also have helped the business growth.
The CPMG informed that around Rs 270.63 crore of premiums against Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rs 198.87 crore of premiums against Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) were collected in 2020-21 for a sum-assured of Rs 657 crore and Rs 425 crore respectively.
While around 500 insurance agents have been engaged, it has been decided to appoint more such agents due to rise in demand for life insurance policies in the rural areas.
"The rising insecurities in life must have been the reason behind people going for savings. The prompt payment of PLI and RPLI to the beneficiaries also helped people to decide in favour of investing in insurance products," added Swain.
In 2019-20, savings deposit of Rs 208.15 crore and premiums of Rs 406 crore were received and around 6.48 lakh new savings accounts were opened. The department has around 24,000 staff in the State.