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How India Post is innovating to keep the postman relevant  

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By Santosh Dubey

There was a time when the postman was the most awaited person in town. People expected a letter or money order whenever a khaki clad postman visited them. But in this age of mobile phones, emails, and other modern modes of communication, the postal department, along with its postmen, has shrunken in its visibility.

Being relevant

Of course, it does not mean that the postal department has lost its relevance in the present times. The department has upgraded itself with time and changed its work functioning.

Today the Indian postal service provides many more facilities like mail product,  insurance facility, speed post, business post,  logistic post, express parcel and various other financial services.

Development schemes under NDA

Under Narendra Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, India Post will tie up with major e-retailers like Flipkart and Snapdeal which will use its services to deliver consumer goods in remote  areas of the country.

At present, the postal department is only able to track the parcel system, but this system is going to be upgraded in the coming time. The government is planning to undertake technical upgradation of different post offices across the country.

Branching out

The department has not given up its hope to convert itself into a postal bank. The government has started working in this direction and 2500 of its outlets are expected to be connected to the core banking platform by financial year-2016. The postal bank will also provide  ATM facility to meet the consumers’ needs.

Not only this, in another scheme launched by the NDA government, named SUKANYA SAMRIDHI scheme, the postal department has opened special counters for parents having a girl child and are willing to open an account.  This was done under the Prime Minister’s Beti Padhao Beti Bachao campaign in January, 2015.

According to sources, the beneficiaries of this scheme get the second highest rate of interest. The five years’ senior citizen saving scheme has the highest rate of interest at 9.2%.

“This department is almost ignored by the people as they are getting such facilities at their door steps, but it is again getting pace with the introduction of schemes like Sukanya Samridhi scheme and others. Hope it will again become people’s choice as it is getting updated,” said a postal department employee.

The department has the potential to cater to the people beyond the reach of  the courier and other wired facilities and it should try to place itself as a relevant and crucial player in these areas.

Next Story

Amazon Plans to Close its Domestic Marketplace in China by Mid-July

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store

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Prior to asking for selfies, the company notified drivers of the new requirement via the Flex app that their biometric data might be collected to confirm their identity from time to time. VOA

Amazon.com Inc. plans to close its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, focusing efforts on more lucrative businesses selling overseas goods and cloud services in the world’s most populous nation.

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store. Amazon expects to close fulfillment centers and wind down support for domestic-selling merchants in China in the next 90 days, one of the people said.

Home-grown e-commerce

The move underscores how entrenched, home-grown e-commerce rivals have made it difficult for Amazon’s marketplace to gain a foothold. Consumer insights firm iResearch Global said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Tmall marketplace and JD.com Inc. controlled 81.9 percent of the Chinese market last year.

“They’re pulling out because it’s not profitable and not growing,” said analyst Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. Ker Zheng, marketing specialist at Shenzhen-based e-commerce consultancy Azoya, said Amazon had no major competitive advantage in China over its domestic rivals.

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FILE – A logo of JD.com is seen on a helmet of a delivery man in Beijing, June 16, 2014. VOA

Unless someone is searching for a very specific imported good that can’t be found elsewhere, “there’s no reason for a consumer to pick Amazon because they’re not going to be able to ship things as fast as Tmall or JD,” he said.

Amazon’s customers in China will still be able to purchase the firm’s Kindle e-readers and online content, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing unit that sells data storage and computing power to enterprises, will remain as well.

The U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba and JD.com rose 1% Wednesday after Reuters first reported the move, before paring gains later in the day. Amazon’s shares closed flat.

US retreat, e-commerce showdown

The withdrawal of the world’s largest online retailer — founded by the world’s richest person — comes amid a broader e-commerce slowdown in China. Alibaba in January reported its lowest quarterly earnings growth since 2016, while JD.com is responding to the changing business environment with staff cuts.

 

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FILE – A worker removes an advertisement billboard of Indian online marketplace Flipkart, installed along the roadside in Mumbai, India, Oct. 16, 2015. Amazon.com Inc. is concentrating on India and its competition, Flipkart. VOA

It also follows the Chinese e-commerce retreat of other big-name Western retailers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold its Chinese online shopping platform to JD.com in 2016 in return for a stake in JD.com to focus on its bricks-and-mortar stores.

Similarly, the country appears to factor less in the global aspirations of fellow U.S. tech majors Netflix Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Pachter said.

ALSO READ: Microsoft, Amazon in Race For $10bn Pentagon Project

Amazon bought Chinese online shopping website Joyo.com in 2004 for $75 million, rebranding the business in 2011 as Amazon China. But in a sign of Tmall’s dominance, Amazon nevertheless opened an online store on the Alibaba site in 2015.

The firm is still expanding aggressively in other countries, notably India, where it is contending with local rival Flipkart. (VOA)