Post office bank proposal awaits RBI nod




By IANS,

Chennai: The government is awaiting the Reserve Bank of India's nod on a proposal to spin off the savings account operations of post offices into a bank, Sachin Pilot, union minister of state for communications and information technology, said Monday.

Pilot also said the government is drawing up a plan to revive the loss-making Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and will soon roll out a new policy on electronics hardware manufacturing.

"We are waiting for a reply from RBI on our proposal to float post office bank," Pilot told reporters here.

The government, however, does not have any plans to spin off the postal life insurance business into a separate company. "The postal life insurance is doing well in providing affordable policy for rural people," he added.

Pilot was in the city to inaugurate a new research and development (R&D) facility of Alcatel Lucent India.

Asked about the turnaround plans for BSNL, he said: "We are drawing up the plan. Some circles are now earning profit. We are looking at BSNL floating joint ventures to use its assets in an efficient way."

On the proposed electronics policy, he said the Indian electronics (mobile phones, consumer durables and others) market is around $45 billion now and expected to grow to around $400 billion in 10 years time.

Pilot said the government is planning to stipulate certain percentage of components to be locally sourced, but declined to specify any number.

He said the merging of IT and telecom is creating a new opportunity for India and the focus of the government is on boosting the electronics manufacturing in a major way.

About the IT industry, Pilot said the sector is expected to grow 17 percent next year and the target is $300 billion by 2020 from the current $100 billion.

He urged the domestic IT companies to diversify their exports rather than focusing just the US market.

Referring to the rural connectivity plans, Pilot said the centre has written to all the states to provide right of way free of cost for laying the optic fibre connecting villages across the country.