Y.S RANA , CHANDIGARH—Come April 1, money order, more than 100 years old service of the Indian Postal Department and more trusted method of payment than a cheque will become a history. Sources in the department said that financial constraints have forced the Indian Department of Posts has decided to wind up the service, which would be remembered mainly as a most economical means of sending money in India and is method of paying money at the doorstep of the payee. The department will say ‘Good Bye’ to another ‘loss making’ service from April 1.
The growing use of technology in the postal department has led to decline in the usage of service. Hence, money order service has been replaced by the ‘Instant Money Order service. In the recent past, financial performance of the India Post has been alarming. According to the officials the service has become financially unviable and lost its popularity due to increasing number of other means such as mobiles and internet users. “People prefer to send money through other means so we have decided to discontinue it,” added the official.
Over the years, the India Post made several technical upgrades in the postal services, with the latest being the introduction of ‘Instant Money Order’ service. However, growing Internet penetration and cheaper mobile phones in the last decade have kept people away from the post offices across the country.
He further said that time has come when the oldest postal department should make an assessment of its century-old services and of those loss making services should either let abolished or raised tariff to make-up the lost. British East India Company set up post offices in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata in 1764. The government has reduced fees and increased usage charges made it reasonably profitable. In 1860 Punjab Postal Circle was formed.
The popularity of MO service can be gauged from the fact that it is available in more than 1.54 lakh post offices of which 89 per cent are in rural areas. It has registered a 7-fold growth over the past five decades. Since long a few century-old in use of services are highly subsidized and raised the losses every year. “Losses can be compensated either by increasing existing tariff or budgetary deficit. Such services have totally lost their utility and still postal department continue to operate such heavy subsidize services,” said the official.
But there are some who say otherwise. They stated that a ray of hope may dash for city-based migrant laborers whose means of sending money to their native villages is money order. It is stated that on an average more than 7,000 people are served by each post office, maximum in rural areas across the country.