But chances are that you may soon be visiting the post offices for a completely different reason—to draw cash from an ATM, drop a credit card bill, browse for PCs or cash some leftover dollars.
The coming of the e-age had struck almost the last nail in the coffin of the 165-year-old Indian Post and Telegraphs department, already reeling under the impact of competition from private couriers. Over the latter half of the '90s, urban mail stagnated, even rural mail hasn't grown. The number of telegrams and phonograms have declined, money orders shrunk. Last year, the Speed Post service generated business worth a mere Rs 91 crore while Business Post generated Rs 44 crore (total of Rs 135 crore) because of its continued reliance on walk-in customers which form only 20 per cent of the market. Private companies, about 2,300 of them, made several times that amount, capturing most of the Rs 600-crore market that is expected to grow by nearly 45 per cent next year.