Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) that aims to take banking to the doorstep of every citizen by arming three lakh postmen and 'Grameen Dak Sewaks' with digital aids to deliver financial services.
IPPB -- which will be available through 650 branches and 3,250 access points immediately, scaled to all 1.55 lakh post offices by December 2018 -- is like any other bank but with smaller scale of operations and without involving any credit risk.
The freshly-minted payments bank will accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh, offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third-party fund transfers.
However, it can't offer loans directly, or issue credit cards.
Launching the service, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said with e-mails taking over inland letters, many thought technology had threatened the existence of the postal department and that postmen would lose their livelihood.
"(The growing pace of) technology (in communication) threw a challenge. We used technology as a base to turn that challenge into an opportunity," he added.
Noting that the postman has a special place in Indian movies and literature, he said the postman not only delivered letters, but also read them out to the families who were not literate, and even replying to the letters on their behalf.
He said the same postman is all set to don a new avatar, where he would provide banking services as well as promote digital literacy to the remotest parts of the country.