March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

THE POST OFFICE BILL, 2023

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TAG: GS 2: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

THE CONTEXT: The Rajya Sabha recently passed the Post Office Bill, 2023, aiming to revoke the longstanding Indian Post Office Act, a legislation in place for 125 years. This new bill is intended to consolidate, amend, and modernize the laws concerning post offices across India.

EXPLANATION:

PROVISIONS OF THE POST OFFICE BILL 2023 AND POST OFFICE ACT 1898

Post Office Act 1898 Post Office Bill 2023
The Act provides for the issuance of postage stamps as per the Rules prescribed by the central government. The Bill also states that the Post Office will have the exclusive privilege of issuing postage stamps.
The Act provides that wherever the central government establishes posts, it will have the exclusive privilege of conveying letters by post, as well as incidental services such as receiving, collecting etc. The Bill does not contain such privileges.
The Act specifies the services provided by the Post Office to include: (i) the delivery of postal articles including letters, postcards, and parcels, and (ii) money orders. The Bill provides that the Post Office will provide services prescribed by the central government.

 

Under the Act, the Director General has powers to decide the time and manner of delivery of postal services. Under the Act, the central government can notify charges for postal services through notifications. As per the Bill, the Director General may make regulations to specify charges.  The Director General may also make regulations on supply and sale of postage stamps and postal stationery.
The Act specifies various offences and penalties.  For instance, theft, misappropriation etc. The Bill does not provide for any offences or consequences, except one.  Amounts not paid or neglected by a user will be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.
The Act exempts the government from any liability related to the loss, mis delivery, delay or damage to a postal article.  This does not apply where the liability is undertaken by the central government in express terms.  Officers are also exempt from such liability unless they have acted fraudulently or wilfully. The Bill retains these provisions.  However, it provides that instead of the central government, the Post Office may prescribe the liability regarding its services.

 WHY THERE IS A NEED TO REPEAL THE ACT?

  • The Indian Post Office Act, 1898 was enacted in 1898 with a view to govern the functioning of the Post Office in India which was primarily related to mail services provided through the Post Office.
  • With time the services available through the Post Office have diversified beyond mails and the Post Office network has become a vehicle for delivery of a variety of citizen centric services. Further with India Post Payments Bank the postal department has entered banking too.
  • All this necessitated the repeal of the said Act and enactment of new law in its place.

SOURCE: https://www.business-standard.com/amp/india-news/rs-passes-post-office-bill-to-amend-125-year-old-indian-post-office-act-123120400816_1.html

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