Faced with opposition from the Finance Ministry to India Post getting into banking fray, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal today said his department will battle it out to ensure that it gets a lender's licence.
"We have been trying very hard to persuade the Finance Ministry and we are yet to go some way to convert the Postal Department into a post bank. We have been fighting this battle and we are not going to give it up till we reach a logical conclusion," he told reporters after inaugurating the Postal Department's National Data Centre at Navi Mumbai near here.
When asked about the Finance Ministry's opposition to the idea of India Post turning into a bank, Sibal sounded optimistic of reaching a favourable conclusion, saying his Ministry will take this to the Cabinet which will resolve the issue. But he did not say when he will do so.
The RBI is processing applications for banking licences from among 25 entities, including the Department of Posts and top corporates like Aditya Birla Groups and Anil Ambani Group.
The Postal Department's contention is that it can leverage its reach of over 1.55 lakh post offices across the country. Of these, 1.4 lakh are in rural areas.
"The only department that can do financial inclusion is the Postal Department," Sibal claimed.
Sibal said a host of services like insurance premia payments, wages distribution and most importantly, avenues of saving will be possible as a result of banking foray.
Sibal also announced that on February 5, India Post will be launching automated teller machines for postal savings bank account holders in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
The Postal Department's National Data Centre, spread over 3,000 sq ft and located at the Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City, will act as the nerve centre of all postal services, including savings, insurance and speed posts tracking.
Source : http://www.business-standard.com