India possesses the largest postal network in the world with 155,000 post offices spread all over the country as on March 31, 2001, of which 89 per cent are in the rural sector. Post offices in India play a vital role in the rural areas. They connect these rural areas with the rest of the country and also provide banking facilities in the absence of banks in the rural areas.
The modern postal service in India is more than 150 years old. In 1854,
the Post Office in the Province of Sindh, (then in British India ), made
postal history, when India became the first country to issue postage
stamps. In October 1854, all the post offices of Indian sub continent
came under centralized control. In the same year Railway Mail Service
was established and India had a network of 701 post offices across the
continent. In 1911, India achieved another "first" when a
biplane from Allahabad to Naini flew with 6500 pieces of mail. The
flight was the first official Air Mail in the world.
After independence, the Indian government broadened the vision of the
postal system to reach the entire population of the country. Today
Indian postal system has a reach that ranges from arid deserts of
Rajasthan and Kutch to the icy heights of Laddakh. India has the highest
post office in the world in Sikkim at a height of 15,500 feet (postal
code - 172114).
Indian postal service provide many facilities like - general or
registered mail, parcel post, speed post, express post, e post and
special courier service known as EMS-speed post. They also offer a
number of post office savings schemes like National Savings Certificate,
Kisan Vikas Patra, Recurring Deposits and Term Deposits.
Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) is a saving instrument that provides interest
income similar to bonds. Amount invested in Kisan Vikas Patra doubles on
maturity after 8 years & 7 months.
Post Office Monthly Income Account is meant for those investors who want
to invest a lump sum and earn interest on monthly basis for their
National Savings Certificate, popularly known as NSC, is a time-tested
tax saving instrument that combines adequate returns with high safety.
Public Provident Fund, popularly known as PPF, is a savings cum tax
saving instrument. It also serves as a retirement planning tool for many
of those who do not have any structured pension plan covering them.
Recurring deposit account is a systematic way of saving money. The
scheme is meant for those investors who want to deposit a fixed amount
regularly on monthly
Post office saving account is similar to a savings account in a bank. It
is a safe instrument to park those funds, which you might need to
liquidate fully or partially at very short notice.
Post office time deposit account is just like the bank fixed deposit
account. These time deposits are meant for those investors who want to
deposit a lump sum for a fixed period.