Interim budget makes no mention of a banking licence sought by India Post

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in his interim Budget speech on Monday that Rs.4,909 crore was being spent on modernisation of all 1.55 lakh post offices, and the project would be completed by 2015.

In the budget estimates for 2014-15, of the total plan outlay of Rs. 800 crore, Rs. 506 crore has been allocated for information technology induction in and modernisation of postal operations.

Government sources said such a huge spend on modernisation would not only make services efficient and transparent but would also support the Department’s plan to open banks as it was eyeing a banking licence.

Approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs in November 2012, the modernisation has to be implemented through eight projects. All rural post offices will be provided with handheld devices for financial transactions, a solar panel for charging it, a biometric reader for immediate identification and a thermal printer.

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