Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Postal Department to start e-Commerce portal to sell products of government agencies

The Department of Posts, which has already made its foray into the growing e-commerce industry by delivering parcels, will soon start its own e-commerce portal to sell products manufactured by government agencies.

Niche area
Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka circle, M.S. Ramanujam told The Hindu that government agencies are involved in manufacture of a wide variety of products including handloom and handicrafts.
“It is a niche area, which the Department of Posts is eying”, he said.
Earlier, speaking after releasing the souvenir to mark the Golden Jubilee of Postal Training Centre (PTC) here on Monday, Mr. Ramanujam said the department’s losses from the mail segment will be more than compensated by the boom in the e-commerce industry.
The department, which has begun delivering e-commerce consignments, including same-day delivery in major metros, including Bengaluru, is having its hands full. “I don’t have to worry about the drastic shrinkage in the mail delivery. We are flooded with so many booking of parcels from e-commerce companies,” Mr Ramanujam said.

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Monday, 6 April 2015

Postal bank set to become a reality, says Rajan

The country will see many new banks in the coming years, including a postal bank promoted by the postal department, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion of commemorating 80 years of the central bank, the governor said, “In the coming year, we will have many new players in the banking eco-system, such as payments banks, small finance banks and possibly a postal bank competing with existing universal banks, regional rural banks, cooperative banks, and a variety of non-bank finance companies.”

The department of posts has already applied for a payments bank licence after RBI initiated the licensing process last year. Payments banks are niche banks which will be allowed to function with several restrictions; they will not be allowed to lend and will have a cap on the deposit it can take from an individual. A postal bank, if it gets a licence from RBI, will be a universal bank.

A task force under T S R Subramanian for suggesting ways to leverage the post office network has recommended that the government set up a holding company under the department of posts for immediate roll-out of banking, insurance and e-commerce services through India’s 155,000 post offices. The task force had submitted its recommendation last December.

Rajan also said the central bank has successfully developed a liquid government bond market, which gave the government the confidence to think of issuing 40-year bonds. “The rupee is truly becoming international, as foreign institutions queue up to issue rupee-denominated bonds. New products supported by RBI, such as the recently introduced interest rate futures contract, are doing roaring business on exchanges,” he said.

The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, also said the task of the central bank is far from over, particularly so far as infrastructure financing is concerned. He also reminded that banks already have too much exposure to infrastructure while big corporate infrastructure players have also taken too much debt.

“Going forward, we need to develop new sources of risk capital so that our infrastructure needs can be financed with a moderate amount of debt, even as we help the system deleverage,” he said.

In his speech as the chief guest at the function, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the need to extend finance to the poor.

Modi urged RBI to take the lead in encouraging financial institutions to set concrete targets for financial inclusion over the next 20 years, to help transform the quality of life of the poor.

“I come as a representative of the poor, underprivileged, marginalised and tribals; I am one among them; I seek on their behalf and trust you will not disappoint me,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister also downplayed any tension between the central bank and the government over several recent proposals, including shifting of the debt management function from RBI to an independent agency.

Modi said the governor meets him once in two months and he found Rajan’s presentations simple and easy to understand.

“What this means is that maybe government and RBI’s thoughts are similar and this is possible because of that. I believe that this is very necessary and I as a representative of the government express my satisfaction on this issue,” Modi said. Modi said along with economic and social parameters, there is a need to think of a geographical parameter as well for financial inclusion. He said eastern India had immense economic potential, and the banking sector should recognise and plan for this.

The Prime Minister said the success of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana and the Direct Benefit Transfer of LPG subsidy, had shown the potential of the enormous role that the banking sector can play in ensuring financial inclusion.
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14th Finance Commission Directions to 7th CPC

Click  Here  for   14th Finance Commission report on 7th CPC 

Refer page no 240 to 250 of the report 

17.24 Technically, the recommendations of a Central Pay Commission are only for Central Government employees and States are not bound to follow suit. Indeed, up to the 1980s, States constituted their own Pay Commissions and prescribed their own pay scales, based upon their fiscal capacity. However, since the Fifth Central Pay Commission, salaries and allowances in States have tended to converge with those in the Union Government and since the Sixth Central Pay Commission, almost all States have adopted the Union pattern of pay scales, albeit with modifications.
17.27 Our concern is the likely impact on overall budgetary resources, particularly of the States, once the recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission are announced and adopted by the Union Government. All States have asked us to provide a cushion for the pay revision likely during our award period. The Union Government's memorandum has built, in its forecast, the implications of a pay increase from 2016-17 onwardsrecommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission are likely to be made only by August 2015, and unlike the previous Finance Commissions, we would not have the benefit of having any material to base our assessments and projections and to specifically take the impact into account. We have, therefore, adopted the principle of overall sustainability based on past trends, which should realistically capture the overall fiscal needs of the States.

17.28 In our view, on matters that impact the finances of both the Union and States, policies ought to evolve through consultations between the States and the Union. This is especially relevant in the determination of pay and allowances, where a part of the government itself, in the form of the employees, is a stakeholder and influential in policy making. A national view, arrived at  through this process, will open avenues for the Union and States to make collective efforts to raise the extra resources required by their commitment to a pay revision. More importantly, it would enable the Union and States to ensure that there is a viable and justifiable relationship between the demands on fiscal resources on account of salaries and contributions to output by employees commensurate with expenditure incurred. In this regard, we reiterate the views of the FC-XI for a consultative mechanism between the Union and States, through a forum such as the Inter-State Council, to evolve a national policy for salaries and emoluments.

17.29 Further,we would like to draw attention to the importance of increasing the productivity of government employees as a part of improving outputs, outcomes and overall quality of services relatable to public expenditures. The Seventh Central Pay Commission, has, inter alia, been tasked with making recommendations on this aspect. Earlier Pay Commissions had also made several recommendations to enhance productivity and improve public administration. Productivity per employee can be raised through the application of technology in public service delivery and in public assets created. Raising the skills of employees through training and capacity building also has a positive impact on productivity. The use of appropriate technology and associated skill development require incentives for employees to raise their individual productivities. A Pay Commission's first task, therefore, would be to identify the right mix of technology and skills for different categories of employees. The next step would be to design suitable financial incentives linked to measurable performance. We recommend the linking of pay with productivity, with a simultaneous focus on technology, skills and incentives. Further, we recommend that Pay Commissions be designated as 'Pay and Productivity Commissions',with a clear mandate to recommend measures to improve 'productivity of an employee', in conjunction with pay revisions. We urge that, in future, additional remuneration be linked to increase in productivity.

17.30 Pensions have been growing steadily, and the liability for pension payments is likely to cast a very heavy burden on budgets in the coming years. Some of the factors contributing to this growth are: (i) the rise in pensions recommended by successive Pay Commissions; (ii) removal of the distinction between people retiring at different points of time, so that all pensioners are treated alike in their pension rights; (iii) taking over the liability for pensions of retired employees of aided institutions and local bodies; and (iv) increasing longevity. The New Pension Scheme (NPS), a contribution-based scheme introduced by the Union Government in 2004 for all new recruits after the cut-off date, has now been adopted by all States, with the exception of West Bengal and Tripura. This scheme has the merit of transferring future liabilities to the New Pension Fund and factoring the current liability on a State's contribution from its current revenues. We urge States which have not adopted the New Pension Scheme so far to immediately consider doing so for their new recruits in order to reduce their future burden.

Conclusion: - The recommendations of 14th Finance Commission are important for 7th Pay Commission.  As the recommendations of 14th FC is applicable with effect from 01.04.2015 the impact of above mentioned recommendations will be the part of 7th CPC.  Need not to say that 7th CPC has the challenge to prepare the report in stipulated time including the views of 14th FC.

Postal Department Incurs Loss of Rs. 7 a Postcard, Rs. 5 Inland Letter

New Delhi: The Department of Posts is incurring a loss of over Rs. 7 per postcard and about Rs. 5 per inland letter as the revenue earned is far lower than the actual cost.
As per the 2013-14 figures of the Department of Posts (DoP), the average cost of a postcard is 753.37 paise while the revenue is 50 paise, whereas for inland letter the cost is 748.39 paise and the revenue earned is 250 paise.
Most of the services of the postal department are incurring losses barring competition postcard, letter and book post of periodicals.
The average revenue earned for services such as parcel, registration, speed post, insurance, money order, Indian postal order and registered newspaper is also lower than the average cost.
"During the financial year 2013-14, the deficit of the department was Rs. 5,473.10 crore as against the previous year's deficit of Rs. 5,425.89 crore, which is an increase of 0.87 per cent," the DoP said in its annual report.
The department said that total revenue earned including remuneration for savings bank and savings certificates work during the year 2013-14 was Rs. 10,730.42 crore while the gross working expenditure was Rs. 16,796.71 crore.
The DoP though recovered Rs. 593.19 crore from other ministries and departments, so the deficit turned out to be Rs. 5,473.10 crore for the reported period.

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Tuesday, 24 March 2015