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Department of Posts must leverage technology to strengthen Digital India: IT Minister

The Minister of Electronics, IT, and Communications, Ravi Shankar Prasad, asked the Department of Posts to leverage technology to strengthen Digital India by adopting AI, IoT, and cloud computing for citizen-centric services.

The Minister urged the officers of the Department at all levels to think to “reform and perform in order to transform.”

Addressing the officers over a video conference, he said the many start-ups coming up in the country are crucial to India and that need to be supported and harnessed by the postal service.

More importantly, he urged the Department to tap the rising demand for e-Commerce in rural and semi-urban India by fast-tracking the access of e-Commerce participants to this emerging segment.

The annual Heads of Circles Conference, held at Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, adopted a 100 Days Action Plan and a five-year vision to align the Department of Posts with the Prime Minister’s “New India” initiative.

During the conference, they decided to leverage the digital network of 155,000 post offices; develop infrastructure to extend the reach of the e-Commerce industry to Tier II and Tier III towns; facilitate SME-led export industry, and open a Passport Sewa Kendras in all aspirational districts.

They have also decided to introduce flexible timings for Aadhaar enrolment; conduct recruitment examinations in local languages; target the milestone of one crore accounts for IPPB in 100 days, and restructure the postal life insurance and rural postal life insurance business into a fully regulated strategic business unit.

At the conference, officers decided to convert the India Post Payments Bank into a small finance bank, enabling it to offer small loans to customers.

The India Post will partner with Common Service Centres (CSCs) to provide national services such as banking, remittance, insurance, DBT, bill, and tax payments at post offices.

CSCs function as access points for government e-services. There are around 312,000 CSCs across the country that provide over 350 services for sectors like education, health, and agriculture. They have generated employment to 1200,000 people including 55,000 women.

Under Digital India, CSCs have become centres of digital empowerment that are actively involved in increasing the rate of digital literacy.

On the fourth anniversary of Digital India, the Prime Minister tweeted, “On this day, 4 years ago Digital India was launched, to leverage the power of technology and make technology more accessible. Digital India has empowered people, significantly reduced corruption and improved public service delivery to benefit the poor #DigitalIndiaNewIndia.”

“The Digital India initiative is a people’s movement, powered by people’s strength and their efforts to learn as well as innovate. I salute all those assiduously working to strengthen Digital India and wish them the very best for their future efforts,” he said in another tweet.

To transform the entire ecosystem of public services through the use of information technology, in 2015, India launched the Digital India programme. Its vision was to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

India’s digital story is one of an ICT-led development with technology that is affordable, inclusive, and transformative.

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