Postal Department Has Overtaken SBI on Digital Connectivity: Ravi Shankar Prasad
MUMBAI: The postal department has surpassed the country's largest lender, SBI, in terms of digital connectivity even before its payments bank launch, Union IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said.
"The core banking solution (CBS) or digital connectivity of the postal department has surpassed the State Bank of India's digital connectivity," Prasad said at a special session on the third day of the ongoing Make in India week here.
There are over 1.50 lakh post offices across the country, of which 1.25 lakh are in rural areas, and the department had embarked on CBS connectivity a few years ago.
The department is all set to launch a payments bank by March 2017.
SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya had in the past expressed reservations about the entry of payments banks.
The postal department has got in-principle nod to start a payments bank, along with 10 other players, including corporate houses like the Mahindras, the Birlas, Reliance Industries and telecom firms with a deeper distribution network such as Bharti Airtel.
The successful applicants have been given 18 months to start operations. They are required to present a final plan of operation to the Reserve Bank of India before final nod.
Speaking at the special session on IT and electronics, Prasad appealed all to invest more in the country, saying India will be a USD 1 trillion opportunity for digital companies in five years.
He elaborated that electronics will be a USD 350 billion industry while IT, IT-enabled services and e-commerce would bring in USD 350 billion and USD 250 billion for the communication sector.
The minister said electronics and IT manufacturing are also crucial for the success of flagship programmes such as Start-up India and Digital India.
He listed consumer, defence, automobile and medical electronics as the sub-sectors full with opportunities.
Prasad sees the target of having 500 million Internet users advancing by one year to 2016-end instead of 2017.
In the same vein, the minister said he is sensitive to the demand on the skilling front and added that over 1,200 doctoral candidates in 80 select universities will be benefiting under a special scheme.
Strike Ballot Result: More Than 95% Railwaymen Cast Their Votes In Favour Of Strike From 11.04.2015
Opposing the “retrograde” recommendations of the Seventh Central Pay Commission, railway unions will go on an indefinite strike from April 11.
The decision was taken after a strike ballot was held on February 11 and 12 in which “more than 95 per cent of railwaymen cast their votes in favour of strike,” said the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (IRF), the largest trade union in the Indian Railways, in a statement here.
The Indian Railways is the second highest employer in the country, after the Army, with 13.1 lakh members.
“There is serious resentment among the Central government employees in general and the railwaymen in particular against the retrograde recommendations of the VII CPC and non-settlement of their long-pending genuine demands,” said AIRF general secretary Shiva Gopal Mishra.
A notice for going on indefinite strike from 6 a.m. on April 11 will be served to all general managers of the Indian Railways on March 11 “in case the government does not resolve the genuine demands of the employees.”
The unions feel that recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission will reduce the “take home” salary of 90 per cent of the railway workers.
Among their other demands are: addressing the 11-point charter of demands of the Central government employees, settling issues it objected to in the Seventh Pay Commission report, scrapping the Bibek Debroy report on restructuring and the National Pension Scheme and filling up all vacant posts in railways, among others