Post Offices run y the Government of India as a part of its commitment to provide cheap service to the people for keeping communication channels open, have been relegated to the background during the last two decades because of stiff competition offered by private courier service providers. But in a country where more than one third of the population is supposed to be below poverty line of income, private couriers cannot compete with GOI in offering low cost services affordable to them. Where else in the world one can send a card across the country at a cost of about a penny or 50 paise? Though the country's postal system is incurring operational losses, GOI is continuing with the system as a part of its social commitment. Many ideas are being tried out to make the postal department break even which include private courier type service, banking service, investment service etc but they are constrained by the working culture of the personnel with low insensitivity to the customer interest. Here is an example of another innovative approach being tried out to lure customers into the post office by the US Mail Service System.
"This office will help to increase convenience and access to postal services for customers unable to travel to the other Cary postal facilities," said Mike Westbrook, Cary Postmaster, who will oversee the Maynard Crossing CPU. "A full line of postal products and services are available at the new CPU including postage stamps, Express Mail® service, Priority Mail® service, special services, packaging products, and much more. We are very excited for the residents of Cary and the community at large."
The North Carolina experiment may succeed in increasing the revenue flow for the regular activities of the Post Office though to what extent remains to be seen. It may be time for the Postal Department in India to think of such radical strategy to keep the system afloat without much financial hemorrhage to the government. Imagine a post office which works between 6 in the morning and 10 in the night offering besides regular postal service also facilities for a quick bite of snacks or a cup of coffee or house hold food articles at bargain prices! What could be the effect on the rural population if thousands of post offices working in these areas become a mini shopping center? Of course there will be logistical difficulties and attitudinal problems which will have to be overcome.