This article is about the Republic of India. For other uses, see India (disambiguation).
|Republic of India|
Motto: "Satyameva Jayate" (Sanskrit)
Area controlled by India shown in dark green;
28°36.8′N77°12.5′E / 28.6133°N 77.2083°E / 28.6133; 77.2083
18°58′30″N72°49′33″E / 18.97500°N 72.82583°E / 18.97500; 72.82583
|Recognised regional languages|
|Ram Nath Kovind|
• Prime Minister
• Chief Justice
• Lok Sabha Speaker
|Legislature||Parliament of India|
• Upper house
• Lower house
|Independence from the United Kingdom|
|15 August 1947|
|26 January 1950|
|3,287,263 km2 (1,269,219 sq mi)[d] (7th)|
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2011 census
|395.9/km2 (1,025.4/sq mi) (31st)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$10.339 trillion (3rd)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$2.654 trillion (5th)|
• Per capita
medium · 79th
|HDI (2015)|| 0.624|
medium · 131st
|Currency||Indian rupee (₹) (INR)|
|DST is not observed|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||IN|
India, officially the Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya),[e] is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[f]China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
The Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE — one of the world's earliest civilizations.[g] In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Large scale urbanization occurred on the Ganges in the first millennium BCE leading to the Mahajanapadas, and Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Maurya and Gupta empires; the later peninsular Middle Kingdoms influenced cultures as far as Southeast Asia. In the medieval era, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived, and Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture. Much of the north fell to the Delhi sultanate; the south was united under the Vijayanagara Empire. The country was unified in the 17th century by the Mughal Empire. In the 18th century, the subcontinent came under the Maratha Empire and in the 19th under the British East India Company, later shifting to British crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which later, under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947.
In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories. India is widely recognized for its wide cinema, rich cuisine and lush wildlife and vegetation. It is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society and is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.
Main article: Names for India
The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindu. The latter term stems from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, which was the historical local appellation for the Indus River. The ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi (Ἰνδοί), which translates as "The people of the Indus".
The geographical term Bharat (Bhārat, pronounced [ˈbʱaːrət̪] ( listen)), which is recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations. It is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Scholars believe it to be named after the Vedic tribe of Bhāratas in the second millennium BCE. It is also traditionally associated with the rule of the legendary emperor Bharata. The Hindu text Skanda Purana states that the region was named "Bharat" after Bharata Chakravartin. Gaṇarājya (literally, people's State) is the Sanskrit/Hindi term for "republic" dating back to ancient times.
Hindustan ([ɦɪnd̪ʊˈst̪aːn] ( listen)) is a Persian name for India dating back to the 3rd century BCE. It was introduced into India by the Mughals and widely used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety. Currently, the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
Main articles: History of India and History of the Republic of India
The earliest authenticated human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous Mesolithic rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. Around 7000 BCE, one of the first known Neolithic settlements appeared on the subcontinent in Mehrgarh and other sites in the subcontinent. These gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia; it flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Dholavira, and Kalibangan, and relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilisation engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade.
During the period 2000–500 BCE, in terms of culture, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age. The Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, and historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain. Most historians also consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests, warriors, and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, and craft traditions.
In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas. The emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of its exemplar, Mahavira. Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle class; chronicling the life of the Buddha was central to the beginnings of recorded history in India. In an age of increasing urban wealth, both religions held up renunciation as an ideal, and both established long-lasting monastic traditions. Politically, by the 3rd century BCE, the kingdom of Magadha had annexed or reduced other states to emerge as the Mauryan Empire. The empire was once thought to have controlled most of the subcontinent excepting the far south, but its core regions are now thought to have been separated by large autonomous areas. The Mauryan kings are known as much for their empire-building and determined management of public life as for Ashoka's renunciation of militarism and far-flung advocacy of the Buddhist dhamma.
The Sangam literature of the Tamil language reveals that, between 200 BCE and 200 CE, the southern peninsula was being ruled by the Cheras, the Cholas, and the Pandyas, dynasties that traded extensively with the Roman Empire and with West and South-East Asia. In North India, Hinduism asserted patriarchal control within the family, leading to increased subordination of women. By the 4th and 5th centuries, the Gupta Empire had created in the greater Ganges Plain a complex system of administration and taxation that became a model for later Indian kingdoms. Under the Guptas, a renewed Hinduism based on devotion rather than the management of ritual began to assert itself. The renewal was reflected in a flowering of sculpture and architecture, which found patrons among an urban elite.Classical Sanskrit literature flowered as well, and Indian science, astronomy, medicine, and mathematics made significant advances.
The Indian early medieval age, 600 CE to 1200 CE, is defined by regional kingdoms and cultural diversity. When Harsha of Kannauj, who ruled much of the Indo-Gangetic Plain from 606 to 647 CE, attempted to expand southwards, he was defeated by the Chalukya ruler of the Deccan. When his successor attempted to expand eastwards, he was defeated by the Pala king of Bengal. When the Chalukyas attempted to expand southwards, they were defeated by the Pallavas from farther south, who in turn were opposed by the Pandyas and the Cholas from still farther south. No ruler of this period was able to create an empire and consistently control lands much beyond his core region. During this time, pastoral peoples whose land had been cleared to make way for the growing agricultural economy were accommodated within caste society, as were new non-traditional ruling classes. The caste system consequently began to show regional differences.
In the 6th and 7th centuries, the first devotional hymns were created in the Tamil language. They were imitated all over India and led to both the resurgence of Hinduism and the development of all modern languages of the subcontinent. Indian royalty, big and small, and the temples they patronised, drew citizens in great numbers to the capital cities, which became economic hubs as well. Temple towns of various sizes began to appear everywhere as India underwent another urbanisation. By the 8th and 9th centuries, the effects were felt in South-East Asia, as South Indian culture and political systems were exported to lands that became part of modern-day Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Java. Indian merchants, scholars, and sometimes armies were involved in this transmission; South-East Asians took the initiative as well, with many sojourning in Indian seminaries and translating Buddhist and Hindu texts into their languages.
After the 10th century, Muslim Central Asian nomadic clans, using swift-horse cavalry and raising vast armies united by ethnicity and religion, repeatedly overran South Asia's north-western plains, leading eventually to the establishment of the Islamic Delhi Sultanate in 1206. The sultanate was to control much of North India and to make many forays into South India. Although at first disruptive for the Indian elites, the sultanate largely left its vast non-Muslim subject population to its own laws and customs. By repeatedly repulsing Mongol raiders in the 13th century, the sultanate saved India from the devastation visited on West and Central Asia, setting the scene for centuries of migration of fleeing soldiers, learned men, mystics, traders, artists, and artisans from that region into the subcontinent, thereby creating a syncretic Indo-Islamic culture in the north. The sultanate's raiding and weakening of the regional kingdoms of South India paved the way for the indigenous Vijayanagara Empire. Embracing a strong Shaivite tradition and building upon the military technology of the sultanate, the empire came to control much of peninsular India, and was to influence South Indian society for long afterwards.
Early modern India
In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell again to the superior mobility and firepower of a new generation of Central Asian warriors. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralised, and uniform rule. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianised culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status. The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency, caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion, resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture. Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience. Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India. As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.
By the early 18th century, with the lines between commercial and political dominance being increasingly blurred, a number of European trading companies, including the English East India Company, had established coastal outposts. The East India Company's control of the seas, greater resources, and more advanced military training and technology led it to increasingly flex its military muscle and caused it to become attractive to a portion of the Indian elite; these factors were crucial in allowing the company to gain control over the Bengal region by 1765 and sideline the other European companies. Its further access to the riches of Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of India by the 1820s. India was then no longer exporting manufactured goods as it long had, but was instead supplying the British Empire with raw materials, and many historians consider this to be the onset of India's colonial period. By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and effectively having been made an arm of British administration, the company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.
Historians consider India's modern age to have begun sometime between 1848 and 1885. The appointment in 1848 of Lord Dalhousie as Governor General of the East India Company set the stage for changes essential to a modern state. These included the consolidation and demarcation of sovereignty, the surveillance of the population, and the education of citizens. Technological changes—among them, railways, canals, and the telegraph—were introduced not long after their introduction in Europe. However, disaffection with the company also grew during this time, and set off the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Fed by diverse resentments and perceptions, including invasive British-style social reforms, harsh land taxes, and summary treatment of some rich landowners and princes, the rebellion rocked many regions of northern and central India and shook the foundations of Company rule. Although the rebellion was suppressed by 1858, it led to the dissolution of the East India Company and to the direct administration of India by the British government. Proclaiming a unitary state and a gradual but limited British-style parliamentary system, the new rulers also protected princes and landed gentry as a feudal safeguard against future unrest. In the decades following, public life gradually emerged all over India, leading eventually to the founding of the Indian National Congress in 1885.
The rush of technology and the commercialisation of agriculture in the second half of the 19th century was marked by economic setbacks—many small farmers became dependent on the whims of far-away markets. There was an increase in the number of large-scale famines, and, despite the risks of infrastructure development borne by Indian taxpayers, little industrial employment was generated for Indians. There were also salutary effects: commercial cropping, especially in the newly canalled Punjab, led to increased food production for internal consumption. The railway network provided critical famine relief, notably reduced the cost of moving goods, and helped nascent Indian-owned industry.
After World War I, in which approximately one million Indians served, a new period began. It was marked by British reforms but also repressive legislations, by more strident Indian calls for self-rule, and by the beginnings of a nonviolent movement of non-co-operation, of which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi would become the leader and enduring symbol. During the 1930s, slow legislative reform was enacted by the British; the Indian National Congress won victories in the resulting elections. The next decade was beset with crises: Indian participation in World War II, the Congress's final push for non-co-operation, and an upsurge of Muslim nationalism. All were capped by the advent of independence in 1947, but tempered by the partition of India into two states: India and Pakistan.
Vital to India's self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic. It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an active Supreme Court, and a largely independent press. Economic liberalisation, which was begun in the 1990s, has created a large urban middle class, transformed India into one of the world's fastest-growing economies, and increased its geopolitical clout. Indian movies, music, and spiritual teachings play an increasing role in global culture. Yet, India is also shaped by seemingly unyielding poverty, both rural and urban; by religious and caste-related violence; by Maoist-inspired Naxalite insurgencies; and by separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and in Northeast India. It has unresolved territorial disputes with China and with Pakistan. The India–Pakistan nuclear rivalry came to a head in 1998. India's sustained democratic freedoms are unique among the world's newer nations; however, in spite of its recent economic successes, freedom from want for its disadvantaged population remains a goal yet to be achieved.
Main article: Geography of India
India comprises the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, lying atop the Indian tectonic plate, and part of the Indo-Australian Plate. India's defining geological processes began 75 million years ago when the Indian plate, then part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, began a north-eastward drift caused by seafloor spreading to its south-west, and later, south and south-east. Simultaneously, the vast Tethynoceanic crust, to its northeast, began to subduct under the Eurasian plate. These dual processes, driven by convection in the Earth's mantle, both created the Indian Ocean and caused the Indian continental crust eventually to under-thrust Eurasia and to uplift the Himalayas. Immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough that rapidly filled with river-borne sediment and now constitutes the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Cut off from the plain by the ancient Aravalli Range lies the Thar Desert.
The original Indian plate survives as peninsular India, the oldest and geologically most stable part of India. It extends as far north as the Satpura and Vindhya ranges in central India. These parallel chains run from the Arabian Sea coast in Gujarat in the west to the coal-rich Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand in the east. To the south, the remaining peninsular landmass, the Deccan Plateau, is flanked on the west and east by coastal ranges known as the Western and Eastern Ghats; the plateau contains the country's oldest rock formations, some over one billion years old. Constituted in such fashion, India lies to the north of the equator between 6° 44' and 35° 30' north latitude[h] and 68° 7' and 97° 25' east longitude.
India's coastline measures 7,517 kilometres (4,700 mi) in length; of this distance, 5,423 kilometres (3,400 mi) belong to peninsular India and 2,094 kilometres (1,300 mi) to the Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshadweep island chains. According to the Indian naval hydrographic charts, the mainland coastline consists of the following: 43% sandy beaches; 11% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 46% mudflats or marshy shores.
Major Himalayan-origin rivers that substantially flow through India include the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, both of which drain into the Bay of Bengal. Important tributaries of the Ganges include the Yamuna and the Kosi; the latter's extremely low gradient often leads to severe floods and course changes. Major peninsular rivers, whose steeper gradients prevent their waters from flooding, include the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Kaveri, and the Krishna, which also drain into the Bay of Bengal; and the Narmada and the Tapti, which drain into the Arabian Sea.
A typical Indian Post office in Tamil Nadu
|India Post भारतीय डाक|
|Agency of the Government of India|
|Industry||Postal services, courier|
|Founded||1 April 1854; 163 years ago (1854-04-01)|
|Headquarters||Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi - 110001|
Ananta Narayan Nanda, IPoS, Secretary, Department of Posts & Chairperson, Postal Services BoardDirector General, Postal Services
|Services||Letter post, parcel service, EMS, delivery, freight forwarding, third-party logistics, deposit account|
|Revenue||₹129.39 billion (US$2.0 billion) (2016)|
|₹-60.07 billion (US$−920 million) (2016)|
Number of employees
|448,840 (As of 31 March 2016[update])|
The Department of Posts (DoP), trading asIndia Post, is a government-operated postal system in India. Generally referred to within India as "the post office", it is the most widely distributed postal system in the world. The postal service is under the Department of Posts, which is part of the Ministry of Communications of the Government of India.
It is involved in delivering mails, accepting deposits under Small Savings Schemes, providing life insurance cover under Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) and providing retail services like bill collection, sale of forms, etc. The DoP also acts as an agent for Government of India in discharging other services for citizens such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) wage disbursement and old age pension payments. With 1,55,015 Post Offices, the DoP has the most widely distributed postal network in the world.
The country has been divided into 23 postal circles, each circle headed by a Chief Postmaster General. Each circle is divided into regions, headed by a Postmaster General and comprising field units known as Divisions. These divisions are further divided into subdivisions. In addition to the 23 circles, there is a base circle to provide postal services to the Armed Forces of India headed by a Director General. One of the highest post offices in the world is in Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh operated by India Post at a height of 15,500 ft (4,700 m).
Main articles: Postage stamps and postal history of India and Postage stamps and postal history of the Indian states
Posts and the British Raj (1858–1947)
The British Raj was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the East India Company was transferred to the Crown. By 1861, there were 889 post offices handling nearly 43 million letters and over 4.5 million newspapers annually. The first superintendent of the post office was appointed in 1870 and based in Allahabad and in 1876, British India became the first non-founding member of the General Postal Union.
A number of acts were passed during the British Raj to expand and regulate Posts and Telegraphs service:
- The Government Savings Bank Act 1873 (5 of 1873), passed by the legislature 28 January 1873, was enacted in 1881. On 1 April 1882, Post Office Savings Banks opened throughout India (except in the Bombay Presidency). In Madras Presidency, it was limited; in the Bengal Presidency, no POSBs were established in Calcutta or Howrah.
- Postal life insurance began on 1 February 1884 as a welfare measure for the employees of the Posts & Telegraphs Department as Government of India dispatch No. 299 dated 18 October 1882 to the Secretary of State.
- Telegraph Act, 1885 (Indian Telegraph Act)
- The Indian Post Office Act 1898 (6 of 1898), passed by the legislature on 22 March 1898, became effective on 1 July 1898 regulating postal service. It was preceded by Act III of 1882 and Act XVI of 1896.
- The Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933 (17 of 1933)
The world's first official airmail flight took place in India on 18 February 1911, a journey of 18 kilometres (11 mi) lasting 27 minutes. Henri Pequet, a French pilot, carried about 15 kilograms (33 lb) of mail (approximately 6,000 letters and cards) across the Ganges from Allahabad to Naini; included in the airmail was a letter to King George V of the United Kingdom. India Post inaugurated a floating post office in August 2011 at Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir.Telegraphy and telephony made their appearance as part of the postal service before becoming separate departments. The Posts and Telegraphs Departments merged in 1914, dividing on 1 January 1985.
Post-independence (After 1947)
Since Indian independence in 1947, the postal service continues to function on a nationwide basis, providing a variety of services. The structure of the organization has the directorate at its apex; below it are circle offices, regional offices, the superintendent's offices, head post offices, sub-post offices and branch offices. In April 1959, the Indian Postal Department adopted the motto "Service before Self"; it revised its logo in September 2008.
See also: List of Miniature Sheets from India Post
First adhesive stamps in Asia
The first adhesive postage stamps in Asia were issued in the Indian district of Scinde in July 1852 by Bartle Frere, chief commissioner of the region. Frere was an admirer of Rowland Hill, the English postal reformer who had introduced the Penny Post. The Scinde stamps became known as "Scinde Dawks"; "Dawk" is the Anglicised spelling of the Hindustani word Dak or ("post"). These stamps, with a value of 1⁄2-anna, were in use until June 1866. The first all-India stamps were issued on 1 October 1854.
Stamps issued by the East India Company
The volume of mail moved by the postal system increased significantly, doubling between 1854 and 1866 and doubling again by 1871. The Post Office Act XIV introduced reforms by 1 May 1866 to correct some of the more obvious postal-system deficiencies and abuses. Postal-service efficiencies were also introduced. In 1863, lower rates were set for "steamer" mail to Europe at (six annas, eight pies for a 1⁄2-ounce letter). Lower rates were also introduced for inland mail. New regulations removed special postal privileges enjoyed by officials of the East India Company. Stamps for official use were prepared and carefully accounted for, to combat abuses by officials. In 1854 Spain had printed special stamps for official communications, but in 1866 India was the first country to adopt the expedient of overprinting "Service" on postage stamps and "Service Postage" on revenue stamps. This innovation was later widely adopted by other countries. Shortages developed, so stamps also had to be improvised. Some "Service Postage" overprinted rarities resulted from abrupt changes in postal regulations. New designs for the four-anna and six-anna-eight-pie stamps were issued in 1866. Nevertheless, there was a shortage of stamps to meet the new rates. Provisional six-anna stamps were improvised by cutting the top and bottom from a current foreign-bill revenue stamp and overprinting "Postage". India was the first country in the Commonwealth to issue airmail stamps.
India attained independence on 15 August 1947. Thereafter, the Indian Posts and Telegraph Department embarked on a broad-based policy for the issuance of stamps. The first new stamp was issued by independent India on 21 November 1947. It depicts the Indian flag with the patriots' slogan, Jai Hind ("long live India"), at the top right-hand corner. The stamp was valued at three and one-half annas. A memorial to Mahatma Gandhi was issued 15 August 1948 on the first anniversary of independence. One year later a definitive series appeared, depicting India's broad cultural heritage (primarily Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh and Jain temples, sculptures, monuments and fortresses). A subsequent issue commemorated the beginning of the Republic of India on 26 January 1950. Definitives included a technology-and-development theme in 1955, a series depicting a map of India in 1957 (denominated in naya paisa—decimal currency) and a 1965 series with a wide variety of images. The old inscription "India Postage" was replaced in 1962 with "भारत INDIA", although three stamps (issued from December 1962 to January 1963) carried the earlier inscription.
India has printed stamps and postal stationery for other countries, mostly neighbours. Countries which have had stamps printed in India include Burma (before independence), Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Portugal and Ethiopia. The country has issued definitive and commemorative stamps. Six definitive series on India's heritage and progress in a number of fields have been issued. The seventh series, with a theme of science and technology, began in 1986. Between independence and 1983, 770 stamps were issued.
The following table shows income generated by the postal department.
|Year||Net expenditure (in crores)||Revenue (in crores)||Surplus/Deficit (in crores)|
The Postal Index Number (PIN, or PIN code) is a six-digit code of post-office numbering introduced on 15 August 1972. There are nine PIN regions in the country; the first eight are geographical regions, and the ninth is reserved for the Army Postal Service (APS).
The India Posts PIN code system is organized in the following way:
- The first digit indicates the region.
- The first two digits indicate the sub-region (or postal circle).
- The first three digits indicate a sorting district.
- The last three digits indicate the delivery post office.
The PIN for an address may be found on the Postal Service website. There are total of 19,101 PIN codes covering 154,725 Post Offices in India, with the exception of the Army Postal Service as of 2014.
Project Arrow was launched in April 2008. The project plans to upgrade post offices in urban and rural areas, improving service and appearance into a vibrant and responsive organization and to make a visible and positive difference.The project aims to create an effective, friendly environment for staff and customers, providing secure IT services and improving mail delivery, remittances (electronic and manual) and postal-savings plans. Core areas for improvement are branding, information technology, human resources and infrastructure. The project to improve service has been implemented in more than 23,500 post offices, and 'Look & Feel ' improvements have been made in 2,940 post offices. The Department of Posts received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration during 2008–09 for "Project Arrow – Transforming India Post" on 21 April 2010.
Multipurpose counter machines with computers were introduced in post offices in 1991 to improve customer service and increase staff productivity. 25,000 departmental post offices out of 25,464 were computerized between as of 2011–2012. In 2012, a plan costing ₹1,877.2 crore (US$290 million) was formulated to computerize rural post offices. A ₹4,909 crore (US$750 million) project for computerization and networking of 1.55 lakh post offices across the country is being currently implemented by the government. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the project involves a central server enabled integrated, modular and scalable solution for all operations of the Department of Posts including Core banking and Insurance solutions in all departmental post offices.
The first philatelic Society in India was founded in Calcutta on 6 March 1897 to service postage-stamp collections. Function include design, printing and distribution of special or commemorative postage stamps, definitive postage stamps and items of postal stationery, promotion of philately, conduct of philatelic examinations at the national level, participation in international exhibitions and monitoring exhibitions at the state, regional and district levels and maintenance of the National Philatelic Museum. Philatelic bureaus were established in head post offices located at circle headquarters and at district-capital head post offices (as necessary). There are 68 philately bureaus and 1111 philatelic counters, including all head post offices (Mukhya Dak Ghars) in the country as of 31 March 2011.:44 A domestic philatelic deposit-account system was introduced on 1 August 1965 at all philatelic bureaus. Customers are given priority in purchasing commemorative or special-issue stamps, first-day covers and information sheets soon after their issue by opening a deposit account at any philatelic bureau. The number of philately deposit-accountholders grew from 23,905 in 1999–2000 to 168,282 in 2006–2007 and 183,202 in 2008–2009. Four philatelic Bureaus—the Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Parliament Street, New Delhi GPOs are authorized to sell United Nations stamps. A quarterly philatelic magazine, Philapost, was launched in 2008.
The Department of Post has also developed software for philatelic inventory management, known as "Philsim". It is used for all activities relating to philately, including forecasting, indenting, invoicing, monitoring supply and demand and recording sales and revenue for commemorative stamps and other philatelic products at philately bureaus and counters (and definitive stamps and stationery at circle stamp depots and head post offices).
The National Philatelic Museum of India was inaugurated on 6 July 1968 in New Delhi. It had its beginnings at a meeting of the Philatelic Advisory Committee on 18 September 1962. Besides a large collection of India Postage stamps designed, printed and issued, it has a large collection of Indian states (confederate and feudatory), early essays, proofs and colour trials, a collection of Indian stamps used abroad, early Indian postcards, postal stationery and thematic collections. The museum was renovated in 2009 with more exhibits, a philatelic bureau and postal objects (such as Victorian post boxes). The Department of Posts inaugurated the National Philatelic Museum on 11 July 2011. It exhibits rare postage stamps from around the world and provides a venue for philatelists to exhibit their collections.
Army Postal Service
Main article: Army Postal Service Corps (India)
The Army Postal Service (APS), functions as a government-operated military mail system in India. A primary feature of Army Postal Service systems is that normally they are subsidized to ensure that military mail posted between duty stations abroad and the home country (or vice versa) does not cost the sender any more than normal domestic mail traffic. In some cases, Indian military personnel in a combat zone may post letters and/or packages to the home country for free, while in others, senders located in a specific overseas area may send military mail to another military recipient, also located in the same overseas area, without charge.
Electronic Indian Postal Order
The Electronic Indian Postal Order (e-IPO) was introduced on 22 March 2013, initially only for citizens living abroad. The postal orders can be used for online payment of fees for access to information under the RTI Act of 2005. The service was expanded to include all Indian citizens on 14 February 2014.
Postal Life insurance
Postal Life Insurance (PLI) was introduced on 1 February 1884 with the express approval of the Secretary of State (for India) to Her Majesty, the Queen Empress of India. It was essentially a welfare scheme for the benefit of Postal employees in 1884 and later extended to the employees of Telegraph Department in 1888. In 1894, PLI extended insurance cover to female employees of P & T Department at a time when no other insurance company covered female lives. It is the oldest life insurer in this country. There was over 6.4 million policies active as on 31 March 2015 with a sum assured of ₹130,745 crore (US$20 billion). Premium income of PLI for the year 2014-15 was ₹6,053.2 crore (US$930 million). It covers employees of Central and State Governments, Central and State Public Sector Undertakings, Universities, Government aided Educational Institutions, Nationalized Banks, Local bodies, autonomous bodies, joint ventures having a minimum of 10% Govt./PSU stake, credit co-operative societies etc. and staff of the Defence services and Para-Military forces. Apart from single insurance policies, Postal Life Insurance also manages a Group Insurance scheme for the Extra Departmental Employees (Gramin Dak Sevaks) of the Department of Posts. It was extended to all rural residents on 24 March 1995.
Policies for government employees include Santhosh (endowment assurance), Suraksha (whole-life assurance), Suvidha (convertible whole-life assurance), Sumangal (anticipated endowment policy) and Yugal Suraksha (joint life endowment assurance). India Post started Rural Postal Life Insurance (RPLI) for rural public in 1995. RPLI include Gram Santosh (endowment assurance), Gram Suraksha (whole-life assurance), Gram Suvidha (convertible whole-life assurance), Gram Sumangal (anticipated endowment assurance) and Gram Priya.
The post office offers a number of savings plans, including Recurring Deposit Account, Sukanya Samriddhi Account (SSA), National Savings Certificates (NSC), Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP), the Public Provident Fund, savings-bank accounts, monthly-income plans, senior-citizens' savings plans and time-deposit accounts.
As on 31st March 2015, Post Office savings bank had a customer base of 330.3 million. Its vast network has been used to disburse payments under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
In 2013 it was revealed that the Indian postal service had formulated plans to enter the banking industry after RBI guidelines for the issuance of new banking licenses were released. Eventually they are planning to open a Post Bank of India, an independent banking service.
In August 2015, the Reserve Bank of India had granted in-principle approval to 11 applicants to set up payments banks, including India Post. As of 29 February 2016, 18,231 post offices are utilizing Core Banking Solutions (CBS) in 9583 Post Offices. ATMs are installed at 576 Post office locations and Debit Cards issued to Post Office Savings Bank customers. Core Insurance Solution (CIS) for Postal Life Insurance (PLI) is rolled out in 808 Head Post Offices and corresponding 24000+Sub Post Offices. In September 2017, it was announced that by 2018 all of the 1.55 lakh post offices and every postman and grameen dak sevak will be equipped with a device which will provide full range of payment options that the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) plans to provide.
The postal department is focused on riding the e-commerce boom across the country from creating dedicated corridors for delivery to training postmen to handle big volumes. There is a concerted effort to become more connected digitally.
A collaboration between the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) and the Department of Posts has enabled the computation of consumer-price indices for rural areas. These statistics were previously unobtainable, due to problems of remoteness and scale. The agreement authorises the postal service to collect data on prices paid for selected consumer goods. In February 2011, MoSPI published its first Consumer Price Index (CPI) and All-India Consumer Price Index. The information has since been published monthly, based on data available from 1,181 villages across the country.
The boom in e-commerce and the surging number of cash-on-delivery consignments has led India Post to partner with major e-commerce portals for delivering pre-paid as well as Cash On Delivery (COD) parcels. The deliveries are primarily directed at tier-II towns, and parts of the rural heartland, where India Post has unparalleled reach. It has also set up 57 delivery centers to handle the e-commerce traffic. The postal department’s revenues by ways of COD consignments from e-commerce majors have more than doubled in the first nine months of fiscal year 2015-16 at ₹10 billion (US$150 million), up from ₹5 billion (US$77 million) during the whole of 2014-15, and just ₹1 billion (US$15 million) in 2013-14. According to the Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, revenue of India Post from such deliveries would go up to ₹15 billion (US$230 million) in the year 2015-16.
Other services include:
- Post boxes and post bags for mail receipt
- Identity cards for proof of residence
- RMS (Railway Mail Service)
India Post was embroiled in controversy when a Right to Information query by Satendra Singh of Enabling Unit revealed that a majority of post offices in India's capital city are inaccessible to persons with disabilities.
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Indian postal service Educational card, late 19th or early 20th century
1955 money order (front)
1955 money order (back)