Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Disbursement of Salary for the month of September , 2017 : Ministry of Finance

Date : 20.9.2017

Disbursement of Salary for the month of September , 2017 : Ministry of Finance

Disbursement of Salary on 26.9.2017 for the month of September , 2017 in West Bengal

Central Government Departments may pay their Salaries on the last working day of the September month in other States.


Grant of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees – Revised Rates effective from 01.07.2017 : Finance Ministry Order

Date : 20.9.2017

Grant of Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees – Revised Rates effective from 01.07.2017 : Finance Ministry Order.


Travel entitlements of Government employees for the purpose of LTC post Seventh Central Pay Commission-clarification reg : DoPT

Date : 20.9.2017

Travel entitlements of Government employees for the purpose of LTC post Seventh Central Pay Commission-clarification reg : DoPT Order dated 19.9.2017.




Cabinet approves Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees

Date : 20.9.2017

Cabinet approves Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees Payment before Dussehra/Puja Festival season Incentive to Improve Productivity and Efficiency of Railways 

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to pay Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 78 days wages to eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) for the financial year 2016-17. About 12.30 lakh non-gazetted Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision. This payment will be made before Dussehra/Puja holidays, bringing a smile to lakhs of families ahead of the festive season.

The payment of PLB would serve as an incentive, and result in motivating a large number of Railway employees, particularly those involved in execution and operations of railways, to improve their productivity and ensure safety, speed and service for Railway customers. Indian Railways operates on the principle of maximum public welfare, and in this context, this bonus payment will help in improving accountability and efficiency in railways operations.

The financial implication of payment of 78 days' PLB to railway employees has been estimated to be Rs. 2,245.45 crores. The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB is Rs. 7,000/- p.m. The maximum amount payable per eligible railway employee is Rs. 17,951 for 78 days. 



PIB

Franking Services : India Post

Date : 20.9.2017

Franking Services : India Post

1. What is Franking Machine?
A postal franking machine is a stamping machine intended to stamp impressions of dies of approved design on private and official postal articles in payment of postage and postal fees

2. Who can use Franking Services ?
Any customer having an registered account on IndiaPost site, can use Franking services on IndiaPost Site.Alternatively Franking Services are available at selected Post Offices also.


3. What services are available to the Franking Machine Users?
IndiaPost Site provides various services to the Franking machine users (FMU) through which they can very easily manage there Franking Machine Usage.Services provided at IndiaPost Site is intended to give a personalised Account experience with the service as listed below :- 

1. Pay License fee for new/renewal of License 
2. Apply for new Franking Machine License 
3. Apply for renewal of Franking Machine License 
4. Apply for cancellation of License/Franking Machine 
5. Apply for change in address of Franking Machine 
6. Recharge Franking Machine License 
7. View the details of all your Franking Machine License 
8. Request to change the Rebate Processing Mode

4. From where can I use Franking Services on IndiaPost Site?
Login to portal with your registered account and Goto Home-->>Business Solutions-->> Franking Services. 
All the Franking services will be available to you for use.

5. How can I use Franking Services on IndiaPost Site?
IndiaPost site provides you two possible ways for creating and manageing your account 
1. If you are a new Franking Machine User you can register yourself on IndiaPost Site and can then Make a New License Fee Deposit through your registered Account to get your Franking Customer ID 
2.If you already posses a valid Franking Customer ID in IndiaPost you can register yourself on IndiaPost Site and can link you Franking customer ID to your registered Account to avail the Franking Services on IndiaPost Site

6. How much money I have to pay to apply for new Franking Machine License ?
The Fee for applying for a New license is 375 INR.

7. How can I apply for a Franking Machine License?
To Apply for a New License you have to deposit fee for New License either at IndiaPost Site by paying online through your registered Account or at Post Office counter, and then raise the license request for your franking Machine. To raise the License request at IndiaPost Site you can login to your registered account and Goto : Home-->>Business Solutions-->> Franking Services -->>Franking Machine License Request

8. What are the different type of Franking Machine Licenses for which I can apply ?
India Post Provides three categories for the Franking machine Licenses 
1)Individual 
2)Commercial 
3)Departmental 
You can apply for Individual and Commercial licenses through you registered account on IndiaPost Site.For Departmental License you have to visit the Post Office Counter

9. What is the activation/validation period for Franking Machine License?
Any Franking machine license is valid for 5 years after date of License generation request. After 5 years License will automatically get expire. To renew your license you have to raise renew request for particular license and pay renewal fee for the same.

10. What if my Franking Machine License has expired ?
When Franking machine license got expired,you have to raise a request for renewal of license.Prior to raising a request for renewal you have to pay the renewal fee for that particular license.India Post site provides you this service just a click away. To raise the request for License renewal and Fee Deposit at IndiaPost site you can login to your registered account and Goto : Home-->>Business Solutions-->> Franking Services

11. What is the renwal fee for the expired License?
Renewal Fee for the expired license is  475 INR

12. When can I renew my Franking Machine license?
You can renew your license anytime before 11 months from date of expiry till license expiry date with renwal fee of 375 INR

13. How can I renew my Franking machine license?
After depositing fee for renewal of your franking machine License you can raise a request for license renewal for that machine.

14. How can I cancel my franking machine license?
You can raise the cancellation request for your franking machine license either from IndiaPost Site Or by visiting Post Office counter.To raise the License cancellation request at IndiaPost Site you can login to your registered account and Goto :  Home-->>Business Solutions-->> Franking Services -->>License cancellation request

15. How can I recharge my Franking machine license Online?
India Post Site provides you the facility to recharge your Franking machine by paying online either through your credit/debit card or your POSB Net banking account.To recharge at IndiaPost Site you can login to your registered account and Goto :  Home-->>Business Solutions-->> Franking Services -->>Recharge Franking Machine License

16. What is the minimium recharge amount for franking machine license?
You have to make a first recharge of  minimum 2000 INR . Afterwards you can make sebsiquent recharges as per your business requirement starting from 1000 INR.

17. What if I want to change my franking machine location?
IndiaPost Site provides you  the facility to raise a Address Change request for your franking machine in a very simple way.Login with your registered account and Goto : Home>>Business Solutions>>Franking Services>> Address Change Request

18. Where can I view my Franking Machine License Details?
To view your Franking Machine License  Details,you just need to login with your registered account and Goto : Home>>Business Solutions>>Franking Services>>View Franking machine licenses on IndiaPost Site.

19. Can I change the Rebate Processing mode for the License online?
IndiaPost Site provides you  the facility to raise a request for changing rebate mode of  your franking machine license in a very easy way.You just need to login with your registered account and Goto : Home>>Business Solutions>>Franking Services>> Rebate Processing Instructions

20. Can I use Franking Services without having account on IndiaPost Site?
To use Franking services on IndiaPost Site you should be a registered user of IndiaPost Site.Or you can avail the Franking Facilities by visting the Post Office Counter.However ,Having an Account on IndiaPost site gives you a personalised Experience  with the facility of easily managing your Franking Activities as per your comfort from anywhere any time     
            
21. Where can I see my last transactions?
Login to IndiaPost Site with your registered Account and  Goto :Home>> My Transaction History  to view your Transaction.

Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme-1980 - Tables of Benefits for the savings fund for the period from 01.07.2017 to 30.09.2017 : Department of Posts

Date : 20.9.2017

Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme-1980 - Tables of Benefits for the savings fund for the period from 01.07.2017 to 30.09.2017 : Department of Posts





First Pension Adalat inauguration, Launching of Mobile App of Pensioners Portal & Award for outstanding contribution towards 'Anubhav'

Date : 20.9.2017

First Pension Adalat inauguration, Launching of Mobile App of Pensioners Portal & Award for outstanding contribution towards 'Anubhav'

Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
19-September-2017 10:57 IST

Dr Jitendra Singh to inaugurate first ‘Pension Adalat’ tomorrow
Pensioners for outstanding contribution towards ‘Anubhav’ to be awarded
Mobile App to avail the services of Pensioners’ Portal also to be launched

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh will inaugurate the first ‘Pension Adalat’ here tomorrow. He will also award the Pensioners for their outstanding contribution towards ‘Anubhav’ – a platform for retiring employees for sharing their experience of working with Government. Moving ahead from e-governance to m-governance, a Mobile App has been created to avail the services of Pensioners’ Portal which will also be launched by Dr Jitendra Singh tomorrow. As a measure of welfare to the pensioners of Government of India, a workshop on Pre-Retirement Counseling (PRC) of 300 retiring Central Government employees is also scheduled to be held. The event is being organized by Department of Pension & Pensioners’ Welfare, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India.

The objective of this workshop is to create awareness about the post-retirement entitlements as well as an advance planning for life after retirement. There will be four interactive sessions which will cover inter-alia, the road map to retirement, medical facilities for pensioners, re-engagement of retired people for voluntary social activities under ‘Sankalp’. There will be another session on Income Tax and other benefits for senior citizens as well as investment and financial planning for retired people and the Importance of writing a Will.

The Pension Department in this programme will launch the first of a series of Pension Adalats which is being convened with the objective of bringing on a common table the aggrieved pensioner, the concerned department, the bank or CGHS representative, wherever relevant, so that such cases can be settled across the table within the framework of extant rules.

The Mobile App to be launched tomorrow will be extending all the services meant for the pensioner, which are currently available on the Pensioners’ Portal of the department, to the mobile handset. With this App, a superannuating Central Government official will be able to monitor the progress of his pension settlement, and retired officials will be able to self-assess their pension through the pension calculator and will also be able to register their grievances, if any, and get updates on orders issued by the Department.

The ANUBHAV AWARDS 2017 will be presented to 17 pensioners for their contribution towards creating institutional memory for the departments. Anubhav scheme had been instituted on the call of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to encourage retiring/retired employees to submit their experiences while working in the government with the objective to create an institutional wealth for the government for future governance as well as to enthuse and inspire the future generations of government officials in their respective assignments.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

SB Order 12/2017 : Department of Posts

Date : 19.9.2017

Revision of Commission payable to SAS agents on Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) : Ministry of Communications.




Grant of Non-Productivity Linked Bonus (Ad-hoc Bonus) to the Central Government Employees for the year 2016-17 : Finance Ministry

Date : 19.9.2017

Grant of Non-Productivity Linked Bonus (Ad-hoc Bonus) to the Central Government Employees for the year 2016-17 : Finance Ministry






Productivity Linked Bonus(PLB) for the accounting Year 2016-2017 : Department of Posts

Date : 19.9.2017

Productivity Linked Bonus(PLB) for the accounting Year 2016-2017 : Department of Posts.




Re-engagement of retired staff on daily remuneration basis in exigencies of services.

Date : 19.9.2017

Re-engagement of retired staff on daily remuneration basis in exigencies of services :Railway Board


GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
MINISTRY OF RAILWAYS
(RAILWAY BOARD)

No. E(NG)II/2010/RC-4/6

New Delhi, dated 14 09.2017

The General Manager (P)
All Indian Railways/PUs

Sub: Re-engagement of retired staff on daily remuneration basis in exigencies of services.

        Attention is invited to this Ministry’s letter of even number dated 07.10.2016 (RBE No 119/2016) on the above subject. Keeping in view the acute shortage of staff in various categories of posts and consequent hampering of the Railway’s services, Ministry of Railway (Railway Board) have decided to extend the said scheme, in exigencies of services, for a further period of one year, i.e. up to 14.09.2018, in the same terms & conditions a mentioned in Board’s letter of even number dated 27.09.2012. While implementing the scheme, General Managers may keep in view the fresh recruitment made in the vacant posts.

This issues with the concurrence of the Finance Directorate of Ministry of Railway (Railway Board).


Sd/-
(Neeraj Kumar)
Director Estt. (N)
Railway Board
Source : NFIR

Restoration of full pension in respect of Defence Service Personnel who had drawn lump sum payment on absorption in Public Sector Undertakings / Autonomous Bodies

Date : 19.9.2017


Restoration of full pension in respect of Defence Service Personnel who had drawn lump sum payment on absorption in Public Sector Undertakings / Autonomous Bodies



Monday, 18 September 2017

Complete picture of Gramin Dak Sevaks : The Indian Express.

Date : 18.9.2017

Complete picture of Gramin Dak Sevaks : The Indian Express.

Pincode 231225: The Indian postal system is no longer a mere disburser of mails, says Post Master General M U Abdali


After 27 years in service, a postman could take the workload no more in Mumbai and stopped delivering letters. The Indian Express trails a postman, deep inside UP, as he battles low wages, falling esteem, staff crunch, and a stream.


The postman is Bharat Sarkar’s sole representative in the Indian village… One doesn’t have to necessarily go stand on the border to serve one’s nation. Doing your work properly, with blind devotion, is your contribution to the country.”
In a packed community hall on a humid Saturday afternoon in Mirzapur, Post Master General M U Abdali emphasises the importance of their jobs to over 300 Gramin Dak Sevaks, gathered from all 20 blocks of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts. The first such “mega mela” in over 20 years in east Uttar Pradesh, it has been called to, among other things, “boost the morale” of the dak sevaks
Abdali is pleased at the turnout, amidst an ongoing strike by postal staff in the state for higher wages.
With over six lakh staff, India Post is the second largest employer in the country after the Indian Railways, with its network largest in Uttar Pradesh. Over 90 per cent of the postal operations are now dedicated to villages. But wherever a mail is headed, the mammoth system hinges on a single employee — the postman. A letter travelling hundreds of miles completes the last leg of its journey in the postman’s bag, to be delivered to the addressee.
In July, this chain of delivery came undone when a postman in Mumbai’s Kurla was found to have deliberately stopped delivering mail for two years, reportedly because he could not cope with the workload. S T Ballal had been delivering letters for 27 years, and was six years away from retirement. The area he covered in the densely populated city should have 43 postmen on paper; it only has 22. The undelivered mail by Ballal, now suspended, ran up to nearly 14,000.
In the 180-year-old history of the Indian postal system, there have been such instances before, says Abdali — of postmen “slowing down”.

Satya Narayan crosses Bijul on a boat fashioned out of rubber tubes to distribute a letter across the stream.
Satya Narayan hasn’t heard of noted Bengali poet Sukanta Bhattacharya’s Runner. Describing a postman, Bhattacharya talks of a solitary runner covering miles of village paths carrying letters of joy, love, passion, memories and sorrow. About the postman, the poet adds, “No one will ever read out a letter of his sorrow/Only the grass dotting his path is privy to his sadness.”
Narayan hasn’t heard of Ballal either, but he can understand. What the Mumbai postman did was an aberration, he says, but it is true that people only have complaints against postmen, and that no one hears theirs.
A weather-beaten man with deep-set eyes behind his spectacles, the 56-year-old looks on blankly at the Mirzapur community hall as block postmasters go up to receive citations from Abdali for having opened the most number of bank accounts (8.1 lakh in all, in Mirzapur and Sonbhadra).
Narayan is as unfazed when Abdali describes a postman as “the great man of the village”, to thunderous applause, and acknowledges women as “more efficient and persuasive postmen”.
As the congregation breaks for lunch, Narayan opens up a little. “I come from Anpara. It is a land of hills and jungles in Sonbhadra district, with streams and ravines. I walk hours and cross a stream to deliver mail,” he says.
Narayan is a contractual Gramin Dak Sevak, like 50 per cent of the India Post work force. Designated as ‘extra-departmental’ staff, most of them earn around Rs 8,000 a month. As per a ‘Time-Related Continuity Allowance’ system, they work for three to five hours a day, and are paid accordingly. They are entitled to Sundays off and a month’s leave in a year.
After 30 years on the job, Narayan earns Rs 12,000 a month. The permanent ones, who earn around Rs 30,000, also get travel allowance and subsidised hotel stay. Around 18 per cent of the permanent workforce is women, as per India Post’s Annual Report 2016-17.
The job requires a minimum qualification of Class 10, and selection depends on marks.
The Anpara region, Abdali says, is the most inaccessible postal pocket in Sonbhadra. Junior staff in Mirzapur call it among the toughest in Uttar Pradesh.
Assistant Post Master (Accounts), Mirzapur, S K Singh says, “The situation is much better now… there has been development. Earlier, there were no roads or transport. Postmen had to wear ghungroos (anklets) to scare off wild animals as they walked through forests.”
“Only we know how we deliver letters,” Dayaram, the postmaster of the Kandhaura branch post-office where Narayan works, who has also come for the Mirzapur meeting, says. “When you come to our part of the country, you will see. It is a long, long journey.”


Narayan covers an area of 35 sq km, collecting mail from the Radhore branch post-office of Sonbhadra, and delivering it to 19 villages under it. Sonbhadra, the southern-most district of UP, is the only one in the country that shares its border with four states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
At Kandhaura, a settlement of roughly 900 households on the UP-MP border, Dayaram’s four-room house doubles as the branch post-office. Most branch postmasters, like Dayaram, work out of their homes. In this sparsely populated village of kuchcha huts, his is one of the rare brick houses.
In a room marked ‘Karyalay (office)’, Dayaram sits at his “workstation” — an eight-year-old second-hand personal computer his son bought from a friend. For over 15 km around, including villages in MP, “Dayaram, the daakiya”, is a known name.
The trip to Mirzapur and back took him and Satya Narayan three days, and Rs 100 each. They travelled part of the journey back ticketless on a train. “We can spend only so much,” says Narayan.

Satya Narayan covers an area of 35 sq km, delivering mail to 19 villages
Reaching Mirchadhuri at 2 am on their way back, Dayaram and Narayan stopped over at the Radhore branch post-office to pick up the mail for Kandhaura. This is because the two also do the job of a ‘runner’, in the absence of one at the Kandhaura branch for the past seven years.
The runner, a legacy of Sher Shah Suri’s intelligence gathering network, who would carry mail and official secrets for the royal household and army, was absorbed by the ‘Dawk’ postal carriage system set up by the British pre-Independence. The runners would deliver mail across miles, and literally run as they were paid as per the distance covered and the weight of mail they carried.
In the under-staffed India Post, that job is now mostly performed by dak sevaks. A cluster of villages comes under a branch office, a group of branch post-offices under the town sub-post-office, overseen by the district head office, and finally, there is the regional grand post-office. Radhore and Kandhaura are attached to the Anpara sub-post-office.
While postal authorities say a postman can rope in his family to help him deliver mail and that the department pays for this, staff say the process is not as smooth.

Shyam Lal, 53, a ‘packer’ at the Anpara sub-office, says he was made permanent only last year because of the high number of vacancies. Before that, he had been working as a contractual packer, sorting and packing mail into bundles, for 35 years. His pay has gone up from Rs 10,400 to Rs 21,000. His son Shiv Kumar works as a mail packer for Rs 200 a day.
Says Ravi Kant Yadav, the block postmaster of Dhuma, a hilly and remote region of Sonbhadra, “I am the branch postmaster, the postman and the runner in my village. And I am only paid one man’s salary.”
Bholanath, the block postmaster of Radhore, is among the luckier ones. He has a 64-year-old runner, Gene Lal, who is six months from retirement. Every day, Lal rides his rickety bicycle to get mail from the Anpara sub-office to Bholanath’s house, which serves as the Radhore branch post-office. In an official arrangement, Lal also gets along with him the Kandhaura branch mail. So every morning, either Dayaram or Narayan go to Radhore, 20 km away, usually on Dayaram’s motorcycle, and fetch Kandhaura’s mail.
Apart from filling in for a runner, Narayan and Dayaram also have to make do without a second postman. The number of staff at a village post-office is decided as per the average volume of mail it gets in a day and the distance covered to deliver mail.
Abdali says the runner system is being done away with, and that the post of second postman has also been scrapped as village post-offices get very little mail. About runners, he points out, “Now there are mail vans and vehicles and most roads are motorable.”
In contrast, cities see a larger volume of mail, but postmen have to cover shorter distances. Calling the urban beat “smaller and compact”, Abdali says, “A rural postman inversely has a much smaller volume of mail but greater distances to cover. So the workload for the two remains almost the same, only the nature of work pressure differs.”
Kandhaura post-office gets up to 25 mails a day.

***
Abdali, a sharply dressed man, occupies a spacious office at the General Post Office. He was transferred to Allahabad from Delhi earlier this year, and is the ‘chief executive officer’ in charge of 16 districts of east UP.

Abdali is optimistic about the future of India Post. “I have been in the department 20 years. Even when I joined, I was told the postal system is crumbling and will die. But nothing has happened and nothing will. And I can say I have another 40 years,” he laughs.
However, with the advent of private courier services and the gradual death of personal correspondence as mobile phones and Internet take over, losses have been steady, roughly pegged at over Rs 6,000 crore per annum, according to the India Post Annual Report 2016-2017.
On its website, India Post states its chief long-term strategy — “financial self-sufficiency by generating surpluses from services (existing and new) outside universal service obligation”. The Indian postal system is no longer a mere disburser of mails, Abdali says. “Where one large body of work has died for the Postal Department, other new ones have come up, like commercial mail, admit cards and exam results, and even couriers from e-shopping sites.” The volume of parcels and packet mails stood at almost 99 crore in 2015-2016, five crore more than the previous year.
A local post-office also collects the retail and wholesale prices of rations from villages for calculation of national indices; disburses MGNREGA wages; relays weather reports to farmers; as well as serves as the chief banker to rural India.
Abdali also insists that, with technology, the functioning of post-offices and postmen has improved. “Postmen no longer have to take a boat to deliver letters. Routes are designated to avoid crossing rivers and to ensure this is done via a bridge, for instance. Postmen use cycles and motorcycles.”
Few share his enthusiasm, or agree with him. Rajeev Dwivedi, secretary of the Bharatiya Dak Karmachari Sangh, says for the past few months, postmen have been agitating for salaries commensurate with the 7th Pay Commission, which incidentally doesn’t cover dak sevaks. “Why this stepfatherly attitude?” asks Dwivedi. “The exploitation of postmen during the British Raj continues.”
The dak sevaks’ main grievance is against the Time Related Continuity Allowance system, which gets them a minimum of Rs 5,400 for three hours to a maximum of Rs 11,000 for around five hours. “Safai karmi se bhi bekaar hain hum. Samajhiye, kuchch nahin (We are worse off than sanitation workers. Almost nothing),” says Sudhakar Mishra, a dak sevak.
There is, however, no penalty for failure to deliver mail, according to provisions of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898.
***
Four hours after he returned from Mirzapur, around 3 am on a Sunday, Dayaram is back at work, after a short nap, and a cup of tea and biscuits. Though today is an off day, he wants to make up for the loss of a working day while they were at Mirzapur. He opens the white felt mail bag he and Satya Narayan got from Radhore, and is relieved to find just one dispatch inside. It’s an Allahabad Bank letter for ‘Narendra Prasad’, a resident of Kandhaura.

Posted four days ago, the letter has travelled 350 km, from the General Post Office in Allahabad, via an India Post mail van, to the Mirzapur Head Office, and finally Anpara.


Dayaram, the branch postmaster of Kandhaura, at his ‘Karyalay’. He bought the computer second-hand and is supposed to make entries into it, but either there is no power or the voltage is low. 
Scribbling into his register, in his dimly lit Karyalay, Dayaram says, “We have to enter all the logs into the computer system now — when we received the mail, when we delivered it, or if we had to return it to the sub-post office as we couldn’t locate the addressee… Computers have come recently, but the distances and difficulties remain the same for us.”
There is another problem. Despite the thermal plants at Sonbhadra, power supply remains erratic. Kandhaura usually gets electricity from only 10 am to 4 pm. “And the computer does not start because the voltage is so low. I had bought it to learn, but I regret wasting my money. It’s of no use. I continue to maintain my records in a register,” Dayaram says.
Meanwhile, the Postal Department has been talking of a Rs 4,500-crore upgradation of the Indian postal system. Abdali calls it “the biggest IT scheme of the country”.
Around 7.30 am, carrying Narayan Prasad’s letter and a plastic bag with his register (for recipients of mail to sign in), pen, an ink pad, and a black umbrella, Satya Narayan sets off on foot. He has a rough idea where Prasad’s home is.
A member of the Panikar Scheduled Tribe, Narayan admits the changes over the years have not been all bad. He marvels at mobile phones, for instance. “One ring to anywhere and we are connected. No one needs to write letters now. So the load of the mail to deliver has fallen,” he says.
Dayaram estimates that mobile phone use in the Kandhaura gram panchayat, with a population of roughly 5,000 people, has gone up by around 70 per cent in the past one year alone.
However, signals remain weak. Narayan dials Bholanath’s number on his basic Nokia phone to demonstrate. There is only one signal bar.

Now, apart from mails, Narayan says, he often delivers packets of fertilisers and seeds ordered online by villagers, bringing them down from Radhore himself.
He confesses that it is earnings from his ancestral land and not his salary that largely sustain his family of seven, who live in a hut 1 km from Dayaram’s home. Two of his daughters and a son are married, while he is planning to marry off the other two sons. None of his children finished schooling. The land was left to Narayan by his grandfather, a former mukhiya of Kandhaura. It was Narayan’s father-in-law, the postman of a neighbouring village, who got him the postal job back in 1987.
Eighty-five minutes of walk later, through a jungle area and narrow tracks across fields, Narayan stops at a pair of huts, and calls out, “Narendra Prasad!” A wiry adolescent steps out, takes a look at the letter and shakes his head. He tells Narayan that Prasad’s house lies “on the other side” of the Bijul stream.
Narayan resumes his walk, balancing his mail and umbrella as he negotiates the slippery rocks and slushy grass on way to the stream. Villagers waiting to cross over exchange greetings with him.
As a mother and child get off, Narayan gingerly climbs onto a makeshift raft of four rubber tubes held together with bamboo strips. In a more reflective mood now, he recalls how he and his father-in-law used to be the chief harbinger of news from the city for Kandhaura once, and his father-in-law would write and read letters for illiterate villagers. “The postman used to be the only literate man, a man of the world, widely travelled,” he says. It is this “social standing” he misses, Narayan adds.
Sita Ram Gupta, who operates the raft, butts in to say he is crucial to the delivery of letters too, to villages deep in the Vindhyas.
Handing Gupta Rs 2 as they reach the other side of Bijul 5 minutes later, Narayan says, “When the rains set in, this stream rages, and the water goes high up. It’s then impossible to cross over. We don’t deliver letters for days, there is no bridge.”
After 20 minutes of walking, Narayan reaches the right house. Narendra Prasad is not at home, but his wife Gita receives the letter with a smile, marking her thumb on the register Narayan holds out. It is a letter from Allahabad Bank welcoming Prasad to bank with them.
Gita asks Narayan how fast Bijul’s current was, and about the prices of rations at his village. After a few minutes of chatter, Narayan sets out for the journey home.
On the way, several people greet him. Surendra Kumar, who is around 20, quips that mail reaches everybody in Kandhaura on time. “There has never been a problem.” But that in villages further down, where houses are 1-5 km apart, a delay of three days is common.
“Kaam teen ka karna hai, vetan ek ka milna hai. Aap ‘nahi’ nahin keh saktein hai. ‘Nahin’ kahenge to aapko jaana padega (You do the work of three persons, and get paid the wages of one. You cannot say no, if you say no, you will be asked to go),” Narayan complains, taking a 10-minute rest and splashing water on his face before getting onto the raft again.
Addressing postmen at the Mirzapur meeting, Abdali likened their 40-year average service to that of Kashmiri walnut cultivators. “A walnut tree takes 40 years to bear the first fruit. Like that, you must sow the seeds, the fruits of which you might not be able to enjoy, but your progeny surely will.”
Narayan wonders. Walking up a slope under the noon sun, on the other side of the bank, he says he has never done anything besides farming and delivering letters. Earlier, he says, he never thought about changing jobs. Now, he adds, “Who will give me one? I am fine with this, with what I do.”
The Indian Express