Union Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said having committed to invest Rs. 400 crore in Department of Posts payments bank venture, the government is considering a different ownership structure to run the arm professionally.
Stating that it is targeting to launch the bank by March next year, he said, “We propose to have Rs. 400 cr investment by the government and the rest by way of equity. The final architecture will come about then.”
When asked if he is hinting at a possible equity dilution in the payments bank venture, he said, “It would be a separate architecture from the postal department. The bank will be run professionally.”
However, the minister did not explain the structure of different ownership.
Speaking at the specially-convened meet, which is part of a plan to elaborate the governments achievements across the country, Prasad said the Narendra Modi regime believes in empowering its officials.
“This government gives discretion to its officials and the system. Why do you want me to take decisions on their behalf? We give them freedom, we only help them by enabling atmosphere,” he said.
The Postal Department was one of the 11 entities to be given in-principle nod by the RBI to launch payments banks. Three of the chosen entities – Cholamandalam, Tech Mahindra and Dilip Shanghvi-Telenor-IDFC – have already said they would be surrendering their licences citing aggressive play by competition.
When asked about the concerns expressed by these entities, Prasad said, “We are neither jittery, nor happy. Let there be a fair competition. The one who wants to come, will come.”
He said the approval (to Postal Department) is only in-principle and in the move towards getting the final nod from RBI, the department will be moving some proposals before the Cabinet.
He said the department has embarked on giving 4,000 hand-held devices to the rural postmen on a pilot basis and will soon be rolling out 1.3 lakh of such machines, which will help them sell third-party products, make e-commerce deliveries, etc.