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Govt told to clarify rationale for postal subsidy

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb.27

The Economic Survey has said that the Government should clarify the rationale, mechanism and the size of the postal subsidy even as it pegged the deficit to increase from Rs 1,364 crore in 2002-03 to Rs 1,449 crore in 2005-06 (Budget Estimates).

"There is a significant subsidy element on postal services with user charges in the postal system roughly covering only 76 per cent of the cash costs. As per the latest indications, the deficit is likely to increase. Clarifying the rationale, the mechanism and the size of the subsidy constitutes an important policy question at this juncture," the survey said.

Postal Finance Marts

To meet the rising expectations of customers, the Postal Department is planning to provide a one-stop shop for financial services called Postal Finance Marts.

These marts will be manned by Association of Mutual Fund Institutions and insurance-qualified staff.

Highlighting the achievements of the postal network, the survey said that innovative products and services have been introduced by post offices.

The Senior Citizens Scheme introduced in 2004 has mopped up Rs 8,775 crore in 2004-05. IMO, an online domestic money transmission service, has been launched. The postal network is also being used for helping the Election Commission in revising the electoral rolls.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2006)
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