India Post Payments Bank launch by PM Modi on Aug 21 to be a grand affair

India Post Payments Bank Logo
The launch of the much-delayed India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) promises to be a grand affair. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will do the honours in Delhi’s Talkatora stadium along with Communications Minister Manoj Sinha on August 21. Simultaneous launches are also being planned across all the 650 districts of the country and a schedule for the same is being drawn up.

The importance of the launch can be gauged from how ministers have been asked to inform the Prime Minister’s Office and take prior permission before leaving the country on August 21. In case a minister wishes to leave the country, separate arrangements need to be made, sources clarified.

The launch in the districts will be done by the local Member of Parliament (MP) or minister and in those constituencies where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs are not present, a strong BJP leader will do the needful. 

Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is going to Kolkata for the unveiling. Sources said he is interested in Patna since the local BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has not evinced any interest. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi is likely to conduct the programme in Patna. 

Prasad was set to leave for Argentina on the, morning of August 21. Instead he will leave on the night of August 21 from Kolkata. 

The stadium in Delhi is set to host over 1,500 people, including postal employees, members of the direct benefit transfer mission, banks, etc. This is purported to be one of the biggest launches in the country.

The IPPB, which has already been delayed by several months, is currently running pilot services in Raipur and Ranchi. According to sources, the postal bank will tie up with other banks and financial companies to offer products like loans, mutual funds, and insurance policies to its customers. 

The Department of Posts was one of the 11 entities to get an in-principle nod from the Reserve Bank of India in 2015 for setting up a payments bank. Although many other entities, including Airtel, Fino, Paytm, etc, have launched services, the postal bank was yet to commercially roll out its services across the country. The IPPB missed the September 2017 deadline to open 650 branches across the country, primarily because it failed to get a system integrator on board in time.

However, with the launch, the IPPB will become one of the largest banking networks in India. India Post has 154,000 post offices, of which 139,000 are in rural areas. The government is planning to utilise the 650 branches to serve as controlling offices to service and monitor all the post offices in the country. All the post office branches will be linked to the IPPB by end of this year.

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