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650 branches of India Post payments bank soon:  Ravi Shankar Prasad

Jamshedpur, June 17: The Union minister for communications and information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday launched a slew of projects and services of the postal department and BSNL during a function at the Michael John auditorium in Bistupur. On the occasion, he also released a list of achievements by his department.

Prasad said the central government was working on to make a digitally-empowered society and his department will achieve it. “It is our ambitious project and we are working hard for postal payment bank. We have so far opened about 3 crore accounts and disbursed Rs 150,000 crore as loan, 70 percent of which was granted to women,” he said.

“We want to ensure that postal banking to spread reach. Fifty banks from India and abroad including CITI Bank of USA, and Barclays from England are keen to associate with the postal department. This shows that Indian Post was charting the growth route,” Prasad said.

Significantly, on June 2, the Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to set up India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) with a corpus of Rs 800 crore and a plan for 650 branches operational by September 2017. It will be scaled up further to cover the entire country by the end of 2018-19.

Shedding light on the postal parcel revenue front, Prasad said it was down by 1 percent in 2013-14, but went up by 28 percent in the next fiscal. “This year, is boon and it has increased by 80 percent in the 2015-16 fiscal,” he said.
Prasad highlighted that core banking of the postal department has even left the State Bank of India behind and added a total of 1.3 lakh mobile phones have been distributed among postmen working across the country.

Talking about BSNL, Prasad said there are 102 crore mobile users in the country, including 27 crore smartphone users, and e-commerce was growing at a speed of 76 percent. According to him, the BSNL has registered Rs 672 crore operating profit and is expected to touch the Rs 2,000 mark in the next fiscal.

Prasad said his department has laid 1.22 lakh km of optical fiber in 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across the country.
During the function, the minister digitally inaugurated the parcel hub, the post shoppe of  Jamshedpur general post office, postman mobile app, e-stamping of non-judicial stamp besides handing over certificates, cheques, and pass books to beneficiaries of  Sukanya Samridhi Yojna, Atal Pension Yojna, Dak Jeevan Yojna and Pradhan Mantri Bima Yojana.

Union minister of state for agriculture Sudarshan Bhagat, Jamshedpur MP Bidyut Baran Mahto, state food and civil supplies minister Saryu Roy, former Chief Minister Arjun Munda, BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey were present at the event.

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