Government aims to empower 1.55 lakh post offices as payments banks

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The government is currently focusing on empowering the 1.55 lakh post offices in the country to provide payments bank services for customers. These post offices will be integrated with the 650 Payments Bank that will soon be set up by the Department of Posts. By integrating with the payments bank, these post offices will soon provide digital services for customers who have accounts in them.

Union Minister for Communications and Railway Manoj Sinha stated that the number of accounts in post offices has grown significantly in the last 5 to 6 months. In a very less period of time, nearly 32 crore accounts have been created. The government has decided to set up payments bank mainly to facilitate transaction service for all these customers.

Following the set up of pilots in Ranchi and Raipur, the payments bank will be established in the remaining 648 locations very soon in the near future. These banks will help the government provide direct benefit transfer to a number of locations in the country.

In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provided its approval for the launch of payments bank for 11 entities including the Department of Posts. Under this payments bank, an individual or small business can accept deposits of up to Rs.1 lakh. Companies like Aditya Birla, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Paytm, etc. have already started their own versions of payments bank.

In March, Sinha announced that India Post Payments Bank will set up 650 branches in different locations across the country. These branches will act as controlling centers for post offices integrated with them. The post offices already existing in different parts of the country will serve as the last-mile access point for customers who have accounts in the post office.

India Post Payments Bank started operations on January 20, 2017, and it has all the features of a digitally enabled payments bank. It is also likely to launch various other services like mutual funds, forex, insurance, current accounts, etc. in the future.

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