Organised public postal system in India dates bank to 1837. The first ever postal stamp was issued in Karachi in 1852. By the time Postal Department was set up in India in 1854, 700 post offices were already operating in the country. The money-orders were introduced in 1880. The Post Office Saving Bank was started in 1882. Railway Mail Service started operating from 1907 and the Air Mail Service from 1911. The Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications, Government of India, is responsible for organisation and operation of internal and external postal services as well as for the issue and sale of stomps for the postage and philatelic purposes, both locally and overseas. The Deportment also provides facilities for internal and external remittances of cash by means of money-orders and postal orders. Besides these, the other important responsibilities of the Department of Posts include running of Saving Bank and Postal Life insurance, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
In terms of the number of Post Offices, the National Postal Network with 1,52,792 post offices at the end of March 1996, ranks first in the world as against 23,321 at the time of independence. Of these, 1,36,082 post offices are in the rural areas and 16,710 in the urban areas. On the overage, each post office served 5,527 persons and a distance of about 21.49 sq km. Mail has increased enormously due to industrialisation arid increase in population and rate of literacy. It is carried both by surface and air. For surface Mail various modes such as trains, roads, boats, camels, horses and cycles are used All inland letters, postcards, registered letters and money orders are normally carried by air without surcharge.
This service was introduced on 1st August 1986, under which articles are delivered within a definite time frame, with money back guarantee for any service defect. It was initially introduced in seven cities and now it covers 67 cities.
Speed Post Money Order
Speed post Money order was introduced on 14 May 1988, to provide a guaranteed and time bound money transfer facility. It insures payment of cash at doorstep of the payee within 24/72 hours depending on destination. This service is available in all 67 speed post cities.
India is a member of Universal Postal Union (UPU), Asian Pacific Postal Union (APPU) and Conference of Commonwealth Postal Administration (CCPA). These organisations aim at extending, facilitating and improving postal relations between member countries. Reduced postage rates are applied to letters and post cards exchanged by surface between member countries of APPU.
Merchandised Speed Post
International Merchandised speed post service was introduced from 15 April 1988 and all articles other than those for which insurance is compulsory can be sent as merchandise. This service is available for 30 countries.
Pin code Zones
There are thousands of post offices in our vast country. Besides, we have number of languages and scripts with the result that it is very difficult for the postal people to make out the addresses on letters and other articles of mail. To facilitate sorting and speeding the mail, each delivery head and sub-post office in the country has been alloted a Postal Index Number (PIN). The system called the PIN code which was introduced in 1972, divides India into eight Postal Index Zones. Each zone is subdivided into postal circles. The postal index number consists of six digits. Each digit has a meaning and serves a specific purpose. The extreme left first digit represents the zone in the country, the second and third represent the sub-zone and the manner of routing the mail. The first three digits together indicate the sorting district. The right three digits of the PIN code pinpoint a post office of delivery within a sorting district. All the six digits together identify an individual post office or a delivery unit.
The following are the zones and their jurisdiction:
Zone No. 1: Comprises Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Zone No. 2: Comprises Uttar Pradesh.
Zone No. 3: Comprises Rajasthan, Gujarat, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
Zone No. 4: Comprises Maharashtra, Goa and Madhya Pradesh.
Zone No. 5: Comprises Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Zone No. 6: Comprises Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Lakshadweep.
Zone No. 7: Comprises West Bengal, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.
Zero No. 8: Comprise Bihar