Print Edition - 2017-04-14 | Oped
You’ve got mail
- The government should encourage the improvement and expansion of our postal service
Apr 14, 2017-
The postal service is one of the country’s earliest government organisations. Hulak Ghar, literally “post office,” was established in Kathmandu in 1878. In the next three years, the service extended to 43 different locations of the country. After the end of the Rana regime, it was expanded to 124 locations. The National Communication Act was introduced in 1992 to strengthen the efficiency of the mail service. The new regulation made the service more affordable and facilitated international access. However, postal service in Nepal is under-utilised today.
Failure in Nepal
In most parts of the world, the public postal service has remained essential and useful, despite the availability of other means of communication like email, cell phones and the internet. In most of the developed world, everyone—whether in a village or a large urban centre—has access to postal services. These countries never issue a license or a government photo ID without a mailing address. Not only does postal service make communication among friends, families, communities and
state agencies convenient, it also indicates the level of a nation’s prosperity and development.
However, the postal service has failed to do much in Nepal. It could, for example, play a significant role in transportation management, traffic control, license distribution, educational procedures, and law and administrative functions. It could also aid in the handling of official documents.
Every year more than 100,000 vehicles are registered in Nepal. Yet, the registration office does not require a postal box address or a reliable street address of the vehicle owner. Such a requirement would make the management of vehicles easier in the country. It would also help maintain law and order by making the tracking of people and vehicles easier. Tickets can be mailed to those violating traffic laws. A postal address should be mandatory in the new licenses to make this possible. At any time, the government can issue a letter to people and mail it to the address on their driving license.
Let’s look at another scenario. Every year, tens of thousands of students graduate from school, high school, and university. Many of them have a problem obtaining their official transcript and certificate after completing their education. In the current situation, they have to make an extra trip to their educational institutions. An improved postal service can deliver their transcripts and certificates, which saves their time, money, and energy. The Ministry of Education and Nepal Postal Service can collaborate on this matter.
Similarly, the regulatory body of the country issues different types of official letters every day. Courts may issue letters to litigants regarding the progress of their respective cases through the postal service. Other official documents from the government can be sent through the mail instead of calling people to offices
so they are physically present to receive documents.
The Postal Service is regulated under the Ministry of Information and Communication and cannot be more effective without government support. The government should formulate a special policy to introduce a more efficient and reliable mail service in the country. It can generate revenue to support its operating costs. Today postal boxes are available for a fee and can be renewed annually, but they are not as effective as they could be.
America generates $67.8 billion every year through the postal service, in
addition to creating employment. In the year 2014, there were 617,254 people
working in the US Postal Service. This shows that an improved and modernised postal service creates thousands of jobs.
Nepal’s government should encourage the improvement and expansion of our postal services. This does not require more human resources—our existing personnel are sufficient to make the system more effective if we adopt the right technology. Besides, postal service in Nepal used to have a widespread network and infrastructure. They can be revived.
The government can encourage the introduction of a postal box for every family. There are enough accessible roads in the 73 districts office of Nepal to deliver letters and important documents in a reasonable period of time. The development of the policy and planning for an improved postal service is the responsibility of the Ministry of Information and Communication. It should negotiate and coordinate closely with the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development to manage the postal service. These ministries and all other concerned authorities should seriously consider revitalising the postal service for the welfare of the nation.
Ghimire has a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Ryerson University, Canada
Published: 14-04-2017 08:16