Mumbai: India Post, which has failed to make the cut during the latest round of bank licensing, today said it is still hopeful of converting itself into a post bank and the first step towards this will see 25,000 of its outlets on the core banking platform by FY16.
"Already 676 of our post offices are on the CBS (core banking) platform and by December 2015 or latest by March 2016 as many as 25,000 post offices will be on this platform, which is being put in place by software major TCS. This will take us closer to realize our dream of becoming a full-fledged bank, as we are already doing the job of a payment bank for the past 150 years," Department of Posts member for planning & technology Kalpana Tewari said here.
Out of this 25,000 post offices, 12,000 are in the rural areas, she said, adding the plan is to convert all the 1.55 lakh post offices on CBS in a gradual manner.
India Post has as many 1.55 lakh post offices out of which 1.39 lakh are in villages. Together they hold Rs 6 trillion in postal savings deposit, 30 percent of the total deposits in the banks.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a financial inclusion summit organised by Dun & Bradsheet, she said the department will have 1,000 ATMs by the end of the fiscal and 3,000 such machines by FY18. Already it has put two such machines in Delhi and Chennai, she added.
Despite doing financial inclusion for decades that too without any mandate as banks have been given in recent past, she said any summit on financial inclusion does not mention the India Post.
She made a ardent call to allow the army of postmen to be allowed to double up as banking correspondents, saying this can go a long way in meeting financial inclusion objectives.
India Post is better placed to do financial inclusion by its sheer reach -- covering 7,000 people in a distance of 5 km on an average, which makes its reach 89 percent of the total population, while all the banks together touch just 39 percent of the population, she said.
She said last fiscal India Post distributed Rs 50,000 crore of the NREGA payments, and already reaches out to half of this rural job guarantee scheme.