New Delhi: Telecom and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has asked Department of Posts (DoP) to explore the possibility of restructuring the 150-year old organisation by separating its policymaking, regulatory and service providing functions.
Sibal held meeting with DoP officials early this week on the issue of finalisation of National Postal Policy 2012 and asked them to prepare road-map for DoP restructuring as well, ministry sources said.
"The postal department should also restructure itself to meet challenge of 21st century. Therefore, the postal department should look in to prospect of bifurcating ministry from the regulator and the operators. Just as in telecom sector," Sibal said.
The government in 1997 created Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to regulate the sector. Under New Telecom Policy 1999, the government further restructured DoT by separating service providing functions from it.
Sibal said the DoP should explore whether having different entities with separate functions of policy making, regulation and service provider will be "efficacious" in the postal department.
"No decision has been taken yet. It is all matter of debate and dialogue at the moment," he said.
Sources in the Ministry of Communications and IT said the Minister had earlier asked DoP to set up a body to oversee the unbundling of its functions.
An independent body named Postal Development Board (PDB) will be responsible for the overall development and governance of the postal sector, they added. The PDB will also draw a road-map for unbundling of postal department functions.
The Minister is also learnt to have instructed DoP to constitute a Postal Advisory Board (PAB), in line with Telecom Commission, which should have representation from government, industry players, academics and other stakeholders. The role of PAB will be to provide inputs to PDB on policy matters.
At present, DoP -- which has around 5 lakh employees -- is the sole body responsible for policy making, regulations and providing postal service.
The over 100-year old Indian Post Office Act, which governs the sector, bars any individual or entity from delivering letter for commercial purpose.
The business of private courier companies is built around delivering documents, parcels and others items which do not fall under the category of 'letter'.
Next meeting on the issue is expected to take place in 15 days, sources said.