As The Volume Of Physical Mail Goes Down, Deposits Soar In Post Offices

The advent of email & other forms of electronic communication has killed the good old postcard communication. This is substantiated by the data available with the Ministry of Statistics.

In the last 10 years, the number of Postcards handled by the Postal Department dropped by almost 50% and the over volume of various physical mail handled by the Postal Department dropped by more than 30%. But this drop is made up by the increase in number of savings depositors and deposit amounts. While the number of depositors has more than doubled in the last 10 years, the amount has more than tripled.

With the advent of e-mail and other forms of electronic communication coupled with the increase in the number of private courier companies, the number of physical mail sent through the postal system has been continuously coming down in the last decade and a half. At the same time, there has been a surge in the amount of deposits in post offices making up for the reduced mail activity.

Decline in Physical Mail

Five different types of mails are handled by the Postal Department. They include

  • Postcards
  • Letters (Speed Posts, Registered Posts etc)
  • Newspapers
  • Parcels
  • Packets

As per the data available with the Ministry of Statistics, the total volume of mail (in all the above five categories put together) handled by the Department of Posts has been in a download spiral in the last decade. From 8.72 crore in 2003-04, this number came down to 6.05 crore in 2013-14, a drop of more than 30%. This drop was seen in all the categories handled by the department except newspapers & Packets.

In fact, the only category that has seen a substantial rise is Packets. There has been more than 50% rise in the number of packets handled by the department. During the same time, Postcards saw a decline of close to 48% and letters saw a decline of 35%.

Number of Post Offices & Letter Boxes

The number of post offices has remained more or less constant over the last 10 years while the number of letter boxes has come down from 5.97 lakh to 5.36 lakh, a drop of about 10%.

Number of Depositors & Amount of Deposits

While the volume of physical mail has come down by almost 1/3rd in the last 10 years, the number of depositors in Post Office Savings account has more than doubled. While there were about 6 crore depositors in 2004-05, there were more than 13 crore depositors in 2013-14. This could be because of routing MNREGS payments through Post Offices and more people wanting to open Post Office accounts.

During this time, the amount of deposits more than tripled from more than 25000 crore in 2004-05 to around 89000 crore in 2013-14. But surprisingly, the deposit amount remained more or less constant since 2010-11.

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