If the government has its way, letters weighing below 500 gms will be carried exclusively by Department of Posts as the over-a-century-old Indian Postal Act 1898 is set to be amended most likely in the Budget session.
This will facilitate DoP getting this lucrative segment, which has been cornered by private courier industry now. If implemented this new Act will deliver a body blow to India's courier industry.
"The present 1898 Indian Postal Act exclusively gives the right to Department of Posts to carry letters. . . it does not allow private couriers to carry letters, it only allows them to carry documents. But these private companies are carrying letters in the name of documents which is in anyway a violation of the Act," Shakeel Ahmad, Minister of State for IT and Telecom said.
"So we are trying to plug-in the loopholes by proposing changes in the Act," he said.
The proposed changes in the Act will allow private players to carry letters above 500 gms and thereby, will offer a level playing field to the private players, the minister said, adding the existing Act totally bars them from carrying any letters.
"The proposed amendment will also set differentiation on a letter and document even for below 500 gms of weight so that the private sector does not take advantage of the lack of it.
"The final draft will be ready soon in consultation with law ministry and we will very soon send it for Cabinet approval and if all goes well, it will be preferably introduced in the Budget session," he said.