150 Years of India Post
A Miniature Sheet consisting of 4 nos of commemorative postage stamps on the 150 years of Postage Stamp in India :
Issued on Oct 4, 2004
Issued for : This set of four commemorative stamps marks the sesquicentennial year of the Department of Posts as it rededicates itself to the service of the nation.
Stamp & FDC : Sankha Samanta
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Miniature Sheet, Mint Condition
Colour : Multicolour
Denomination : 500 Paise each
Print Quantity : 0.8 Million Each
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nashik
- 1854 marks a watershed in the history of Post in India. On 1st October, 1854, India Post, as we know it today, was born with a skeletal network of 701 post offices under the control of a Director General. The Post Office Act of 1854 reformed the earlier postal system, providing total monopoly to the Government for the management of the Post Office and the exclusive privilege for conveyance of letters. The Railway Mail Service was also established in 1854, and a new sea mail service was introduced from India to Great Britain and China.
- On 1st October, 1854, the first postage stamp valid across the country was issued at an affordable and uniform rate of postage, fixed by weight and not by distance. For the first time the common man could use a facility which included free delivery of letters from door to door – a privilege previously enjoyed only by Heads of States and State officials. From this day forth, the Post Office touched the life of every citizen. Even though the British established the Post Office for imperial interests, it became, alongwith the Railways and the Electric Telegraph, one of the great engines of social development.
- The postal system in India is the synthesis of many influences. Its origins include elements of systems established from the time of the Mauryas, as also those established later by the British, the Princely States, the District postal systems and the Zamindari dak. The British Postal system in India was established by Lord Clive in 1776, and further developed by Warren Hastings, who established the Calcutta GPO in 1774. GPOs at Madras and Bombay followed in 1786 and 1793 respectively. The Post Office Act of 1837 united the Post Office organizations in all the three presidencies into one all-India Service. By 1908, of the 650 princely states, some of which were well developed with local postage stamps of their own, 635 states cast their lot with the Indian Post Office. The remaining 15, including those of Hyderabad, Gwalior, Jaipur and Travancore, merged only after independence.
- The Post Office is universally recognized as a facilitator of communication. The postal runner defied all odds – natural calamities, wild beasts, geographical terrain and bandits – in the discharge of his duties, to earn a place in the folklore of every region. However, what is less recognised is its pioneering role in retailing a diverse range of services through its vast network. In the mid nineteenth century, the post office served as facilitator of travel with its conveyance system, and by maintaining the dak bungalows and dak serais. Mail order services were started with the value payable system introduced in 1877, while fund remittances at the doorstep became possible from 1880 through money order services. With the introduction of the Post Office Savings Bank in 1882 banking facilities were accessible to all and by 1884 all Government employees were covered by the Postal Life Insurance. The post office has even been used to retail quinine and salt in public interest.
- The postal network of over 1,55,000 outlets is the largest in the world, and, arguably, the largest retail network in the country. Its capacity to handle financial transactions, its intimate knowledge of the local environment in any part of the country and its unparalleled access renders it an efficient, cost effective means of accessing customers everywhere. Today, the focus is on modernising and computerising the network to enhance its capacity to render various e-based services like e-post and value added premium services like Speed Post, Business Post etc. to meet the emerging needs of customers and also provide e-governance facilities. In this era of economic liberalisation, the post office is gearing itself to meet its social obligations as well as the challenges of the commercial, competitive environment.
- India Post today is a blend of tradition and modernity, playing the role of a catalyst for social change. It has knit the country together by facilitating education, trade and industry and by breaking down social barriers – an integrator in a fractured world. Its philatelic stamps have showcased the best facets of India to the world.
- Text : S.C. Barmma, Director (vigilance).