Chidambaram inaugurates first post office ATM in Chennai
28 February 2014
India's first Post Office Savings Bank ATM was inaugurated in Chennai today by union finance minister P Chidambaram – who incidentally hails from Tamil Nadu – as part of the government's Rs4,909 crore IT modernisation scheme for the Department of Posts.
After launching the ATM service at Thiyagaraya Nagar Head Post Office (HPO), Chidambaram said that Rs4,909 crore had been allocated for the IT modernisation of Posts in the interim budget for 2014-15.
"The IT modernisation scheme is aimed at making Department of Posts a completely technology-oriented one and today's initiative is a step in that regard," he said.
The IT modernisation scheme would cover 1.55 lakh post offices and would be implemented by next year, he added.
Speaking about the newly-launched ATM service at the HPO, Chidambaram said that while it will initially operate in a closed environment for about six months – meaning only those with postal savings accounts can access it – this will later change to 'inter-operability,' on the lines of bank ATMs, allowing customers to withdraw money from any ATM.
About the Department of Posts, Chidambaram said that while questions were being raised about its future, especially in the wake of a dip in use of letters and postcards, it was adopting new strategies and was therefore on the growth path.
A large number of people still believe that India Post is the best in the courier and parcel delivery areas, he added.
An official release said the T Nagar HPO ATM is the first in the country and "four more ATMs are ready for operations" in Delhi and Mumbai.
"It is proposed to install 1,000 ATMs across the country in 2014. Another 1,800 ATMs will be added in 2015," it said.
It added that Rs700 crore has been earmarked for implementing Core Banking Solution (CBS) for the Post Office Savings Bank. To date, 51 HPOs and 11 sub-post offices have "migrated" covering 64 lakh accounts.
By 31 March 2014, a total of 700 more post offices will be covered and all 26,840 post offices will be functional under CBS in another two years, it said.