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PTI / The Hindu /NEW DELHI, July 31, 2011.
Union Minister for Telecom Kapil Sibal. File photo - The Hindu.
The humble post office is all set to undergo a radical change with a proposal to convert over 1.5 lakh post offices across the nation into full fledged banks on the anvil.
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal wants to reach out to the masses in the rural areas with modern banking facilities through the post offices. “We want to commercialise the department. We will seek a licence from the RBI to convert all our post offices into banks,” Mr. Sibal told PTI.
The lack of modern banking facilities in rural areas and dependence of villagers on informal sector for their credit requirements has prompted the government to work on financial inclusion by way of setting up ‘postal banks’.
“The State Bank of India can’t build branches all over India, but there are post offices across India. The branches are already there, so infrastructure expenditure is not required. So you can actually give banking facilities at relatively lower costs, which would be extremely beneficial to people,” he said.
The post offices currently offer financial services like savings bank, postal life insurance, pension payments and money transfer services. Its total corpus stood at Rs. 5,82,832.9 crore as on March 31, 2011.
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