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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

'Money order' days are coming back soon? India Post, the flag bearer of financial inclusion

Launch of #Indiapost #payments-bank and #aadhaar-based-money-transfer - and my childhood memories

I am born and brouht up in a semi-urban locality in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, and hold some fascinating memories of childhood days with my grand-parents. Holding my grand-mom's hand, my tours to Post-office and banks comes flashing often. I remember my grand ma calculating her interest earnings, gifting us Indira Vikas patra, Kishan Vikas Patra certificates as birthday gifts. Urging my father to buy NSC certificates was a routine for her without having a proper understanding of product positioning but with a complete knowledge of how to "double" her savings with fixed income products.

Also Read - Airtel Payments Bank

I still vaguely remember, I would be about 8 years old when my cousin cleared his board exams with brilliant numbers. My family was thrilled. My Grand-father enthusiastically summoned my Grand-ma to send "money order" of Rs. 500 to my cousin as blessings. Sending any other gift through courier was a far-fetched dream at that time. And as usual, I enthusiastically accompanied my granny to the Post office and see her write neat requisition slip, speaking to the head post master, giving some extra money as a fee for transfer and done! We received a letter from uncle and brother in receipt and thanks within the month (we didn't have a telephone yet).

India Post was an important part of our lives with the Postcards and in-land letters, the deposit certificates and occasional money orders. It was a complete financial service destination for my grand mom with their monthly income scheme and senior deposit schemes. 
It was such a thrilling experience from my 'slo-mo' childhood memories. The visit to Post office was just fascinating!

It may sound weird for a bit that why I am detailing out my childhood experience in a finance-centric blog. Hold on! I will tell you. ☺ I just came across the news yesterday that India Post payments bank plans to launch Aadhaar based money transfer. Though the minute details aren't out yet, I just recalled the sweet childhood days! It will be fascinating to see how the whole process pan out. India Post one of the oldest entities in India, with more than 1,50,000 point of presence and 3 lakh postmen on its payroll clear winner in the outreach to the rural and remotest places in India. According to reports the India Post has more than 89% branches are in rural areas. 

Though #India Post temporarily lost its sheen during the late 90s and early 2000's, with many service running into losses, closure of its telegram services and thanks to the internet era, postcards and inland letters are history now. But great to see that the old champ is all set to get on with the modern times and give a high competition and contribution in the banking system of India

India Post, older than our formal banking system has served Indian population with various fixed income product and Many times higher return on fixed income products. The institution is a true symbol of financial inclusion in India, quietly working for decades humbly without hogging much lime-light. This is an ode to you India Post, the true torch-bearer of financial inclusion journey.

I welcome you whole heartedly for your newest venture of Payments banking. Despite strong opposition by the banking lobby, you made it there and you truly deserve it. I wish you write an amazing story of financial inclusion in India for people to acknowledge and remember you for your unforgettable contribution to rural India.

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