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Postal bill to hurt employment: CII

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) Business chamber CII has called for an urgent revision in the proposed recommendations of the Indian Post Office (Amendment) Bill and sought a wider discussion and consensus on the elements of the bill, before it is presented to Parliament.

''The provisions of this postal legislation will severely impact India's credibility in the global business environment; and also significantly erode the efficiency and competitive gains that have been attained by Indian industry in recent years,'' a release of the Confederation of Indian Industry said here.

The draft of the Post Office (Amendment) Bill, ensures that all documents and letters below 500 grams in weight, will be the exclusive domain of the department of Posts, thereby forbidding Indian courier and express companies from carrying documents weighing less than 500 grams. The proposed amendments essentially expand the monopoly provisions for the Department of Posts; Regulate Courier and Express business operators, and Levy a Universal Service Obligation (USO) fee on the Courier and Express operators.

Calling for a wider discussion among the user segments and the stake-holders, CII said the amendments would severely impact an industry which is a significant provider of employment. The sector has closely integrated itself with global business and technology processes and the amendments would derail investment commitments into building India's logistics infrastructure.

The express and courier industries provide employment to over 10 lakh individuals, drawn mostly from the grass roots, the economically weaker and the unskilled segments of the population.

These industries are not only large employment generators, but also significant contributors to the national exchequer. The courier and express industries are a critical part of the country's overall logistics and cargo industry, contributing over Rs 600 crore to the national exchequer.

According to recent estimates, CII believes that the courier and express industries in India comprise 2,500 diverse operators in both the organised and unorganised sector; generating Rs 6,250 crore in revenue through servicing both distribution needs in India&overseas. Courier and Express industries are significant contributors to India's recent advances in domestic and international trade and commerce.

The chamber said the Indian economy has benefited immensely from competitive, customised and assured communication and logistics services that the country's courier and express industry provides.

Any move to limit the operations of the courier and express businesses would have a far-reaching impact on the economy as a whole; with a host of gains in speed, efficiency, entrepreneurism, productivity and customisation of communication, being wiped out.

The credibility of document-communications in India is bound to take a hit if the postal amendments are brought about.

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