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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

UPU News:-Ecom@Africa makes new strides

Launched in 2016, Ecom@Africa aims to ensure the development of e-commerce through the African postal network, giving micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) better access to local and international markets by simplifying import and export procedures.

The project has been seen as a lifeline for African Posts as they struggle to build up their business given the decline in letter-mail and traditional postal services.
Two countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia – recently joined the initiative, signing formal agreements in late 2018 to launch e-commerce hubs to serve their respective regions and Tunisia having just laid the foundation of its Ecom@Africa fulfilment hub in March 2019.
Speaking during the Fifth Extraordinary Session of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU) in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in July 2018, UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein called the UPU project a key enabler of e-commerce, which allows African citizens and businesses to participate in national, regional, and global economies. 
“Barriers to e-commerce in Africa are many and varied. We need one platform that can address all the challenges comprehensively. Ecom@Africa powered by the Post is the solution,” he said.  
Foundations laid
Tunisia was the first country to come on board the initiative, hosting an Ecom@Africa onsite assessment in March 2017 and signing its cooperation agreement with the UPU in July 2017. It is now in the midst of implementing its roadmap of 15 activities, including the installation of UPU’s Customs Declaration System (CDS) and the upgrade of Tunisia Post’s IT tools. It is also the first Post to use the UPU’s new e-commerce application-programming interface allowing postal operators and their commercial partners to automate orders, payments, shipments, customs clearance, and deliveries.
It is also the first to begin construction on its Ecom@Africa hub. The UPU Director General attended a ceremony at Tunis-Carthage International Airport in March 2019 where he helped lay the first part of the fulfilment centre’s foundation.
Firm commitment
Ethiopia is the latest to join the initiative, having signed a cooperation agreement in December to construct a hub for East Africa.
Commenting on this important milestone in the development of the country, Mr. Hussein said the agreement confirmed the Ethiopian government’s “commitment to launch Ecom@Africa, a single window platform for domestic and international e-commerce trade.”
In February 2019, UPU experts assessed five main areas of the project during their mission to Addis Ababa: regulatory and investment conditions, the local postal network and its supply chain partners, the future hub, its virtual marketplace, and APIs. The team held meetings with Ethiopian Minister of Innovation and Technology Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopian Airlines, the Ethiopian Postal Service, the Ethiopian Customs authority, and the national investment committee to discuss next steps. UPU experts made recommendations on policies that the government would have to develop and transport and delivery improvements that must be made as a precursor to establishing the hub. As the next step, the government will create a national addressing system.
The government intends to construct a modern fulfilment centre very close to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. The centre will focus on domestic e-commerce, transit, and international outbound mail flows.
Working on policy
The UPU also signed an Ecom@Africa cooperation agreement with Côte d’Ivoire late last year, during the UPU Second Extraordinary Congress in Addis Ababa. Since then, the country launched the project during a December 2018 ceremony attended by UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz, Ivoirian Minister for Digital Economy and Post Claude Isaac Dé, La Poste (Côte d’Ivoire) CEO Isaac Gnamba Yao, partner institutions and UPU experts.
UPU experts have since conducted an onsite assessment of the Post’s operational readiness for e-commerce and made several recommendations on necessary policy development and postal IT infrastructure investments to be made. The local government has already found two possible locations for the country’s future hub.
The UPU is currently working with four other African countries to negotiate Ecom@Africa agreements: Cameroon, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.

UPU News:-Lending a hand far from home

On the International Day of Family Remittances, UPU Director General says policy-makers and partners need look no further than the Post to offer accessible and affordable money transfer services for the 200 million migrants and their 800 million family members who need them.

“The question for governments, international organizations and consumer groups has been how to reduce costs by finding alternative providers capable of delivering services that are cost-effective and reliable.  They need not look further than their local post office,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein in his statement on the awareness day.
“As a historically trusted public service provider with a vast global network, the Post is a natural partner for financial inclusion, including the delivery of affordable and easily accessible global remittance services,” he added. 
Affordability and accessibility are the two key drivers of a years-long partnership between the UPU and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to develop domestic and international remittance services for the Burundian diaspora through the postal network.
In 2017, the World Bank estimated the country’s inward remittances at USD 33.51 million, but with global private money transfer organizations (MTO) dominating the market, Burundian migrants lacked access to low-cost services to transfer money home to their families. The project’s goal was to reduce remittance costs from 10 to 3 percent and provide access to previously unreached rural and remote communities by making the service available in each of the country’s post offices across its 18 provinces.
Olivier Boussard, UPU project coordinator, says, “By joining forces and sharing our different expertise, we have not only been able to provide migrants and their families with a concrete and tangible solution to their money transfer needs, but, more broadly, we have been able to foster the financial inclusion of Burundians in remote and rural areas.”
Launched domestically in 2017, the service – known as “Rungika”, or “send” in the Kirundi language – is now the cheapest one available within Burundi. Rungika customers have already made more than 19,000 domestic transactions through the service, which is offered by the Burundian National Postal Service (RNP) via a mobile app developed by the UPU using its secure and reliable International Financial System for worldwide postal payments.
The service’s first international corridor was launched with Belgium in 2018 thanks to a partnership with RIA Money Transfer. Now Burundians living in Belgium can visit any RIA sales point to send money back home through the Rungika service.
The project was recently recognized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) as a good practice on its Sustainable Development Goals Partnership Platform, but the work is not over yet. New payment corridors are soon expected to open in the coming years.

Holidays to be observed in Central Government Offices during the year 2020-reg.

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Regarding Printing of Passbooks with Passbook Printers

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Saturday, June 8, 2019

RBI removes NEFT, RTGS payment charges to push digital transactions

RBI has removed charges for payments via NEFT and RTGS and asked banks to pass on the benefits to customers. This means that payments via NEFT and RTGS would become either free or charges would be drastically reduced. This was announced in the Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies, which was released today by the central bank as part of its monetary policy review. 

The Reserve Bank levies minimum charges on banks for transactions routed through its Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) meant for large-value instantaneous fund transfers and the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) System for other fund transfers. Banks, in turn, levy charges on their customers. In order to provide an impetus to digital funds movement, it has been decided to do away with the charges levied by the Reserve Bank for transactions processed in the RTGS and NEFT systems. Banks will be required, in turn, to pass these benefits to their customers. Instructions to banks in this regard will be issued within a week. 

1. National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT)
NEFT is a payment system facilitating funds transfers from one bank account to another. One can access this service either by using Internet banking or by visiting the bank branch. (Not all bank branches are enabled with this service.)

Once you initiate the transfer, the money reaches the beneficiary account within hours. There is no limit on the minimum or maximum amount you can transfer, however, individual banks may put restrictions on the per transaction amount. 

2. Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS)
This is a facility used for transferring high value amounts. In RTGS, the minimum amount that can be currently transferred is Rs 2 lakh. 
You can only transfer funds using RTGS on any working day between Monday and Saturday either via internet banking or bank branch. 

Source:-The Economic Times

Regarding re-organisation of Postal Divisions under Sambalpur Region and creation of a new Rourkela Division of Odisha Circle

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Govt may have to extend ITR filing deadline for FY18-19; extends Form 16 issue date to July 10

The government may have to extend the due date for filing income tax return (ITR) this year. The normal due date or deadline for filing ITRs by individuals is July 31. This is because the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a notification dated June 4, 2019 extending the deadline for employers to file their TDS returns and also to issue Form 16 to employees to June 30th and July 10th respectively. 

If employees get their Form 16 by July 10th it leaves very little time for thousands of tax payers to file their returns if the deadline for filing of ITRs remains July 31 – only 21 days. Also, remember that since last year a penalty is payable for filing ITR after due date. Therefore, following this move of the CBDT, the extension of the due date for filing ITRs for individuals may well get extended too. 

The due date for filing of ITRs for individuals has been extended in earlier years too for various reasons including: giving more time for PAN-Aadhaar linking, income tax e-filing website going down due to heavy rush etc. Given that now there will be very little time for the salaried to file their returns this year, there are likely to be several requests from various quarters urging the government to give more time to file the ITRs. 

The CBDT has issued a notification to amend the Form 24Q and Form 16 (TDS certificate in respect of salary income) with effect from May 12, 2019. As per the new format, every employer is required to report the detailed break-up of salary, exempt allowances and deductions claimed and allowed to an employee. 

Further, the income-tax return forms for AY 2019-20 were also amended by CBDT in line with the changes made in Form 24Q and Form 16. The move has been made to cross check the information provided by an employee in ITR forms with TDS return filed by his employer. 
The due date of filing of income-tax return for AY 2019-20 is 31st July 2019. So, it is very likely that the CBDT would also extend the due date of filing of income-tax return considering the extension in due date of issuance of Form 16. 

Source:-The Economic Times

UPU News:-From climate policy to climate solutions – bridging the governance gap

Climate action has rocketed to the top of the political agenda in many countries amidst warnings that greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise, but what does this mean for postal services? From the COP 24 in Poland to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the message of urgency is clear, but how can we turn national and sectoral commitments into action on the ground?

An ever-expanding catalogue of solutions is available to help Posts reduce their energy consumption and meet the remaining demand in a sustainable way, and electric vehicles and solar panels are no longer science fiction.  A key question for Posts is how to choose which climate actions to take. Where should they invest their resources for the biggest reduction in emissions?  The most appropriate solutions will vary between operators, depending on factors such as the age of their physical infrastructure, the mix of services delivered and even the local climate. 
To support strategic decision-making, member countries requested the UPU to provide an online tool for postal operators to measure their greenhouse gas emissions. The result is the Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR), which is available to the designated operators of UPU member countries free of charge.
At a basic level, OSCAR can be used to record qualitative information about environmental management activities and broad summaries of greenhouse gas emissions, enabling users to track their emissions and demonstrate their growing engagement with this topic over time. This includes a very popular feature allowing users to record and, if they wish, to share updates about new sustainability projects and innovations.  This information also gives the UPU critical insights into innovative projects under way in member countries, and ideas for new programmes it could develop. These functions are valuable for decision-making at the postal-operator level, and are convenient ways of collecting data for other sustainability reporting and accreditation systems in which Posts participate, such as the Global Reporting Initiative. 
However, it is by engaging with the detailed reporting of data on emissions from building stock, vehicle fleet and energy mix that the full functionality of OSCAR is revealed.  The output is a list of KPIs designed specifically for the postal sector, which Posts can use to support strategic action on emissions reduction.  These indicators take abstract data and convert it into a more tangible form, such as CO2 emissions per item, percentage of alternative vehicles in the Post’s fleet, and more. Such data can help inform the climate change strategies of UPU members, irrespective of how advanced their progress is to date.
OSCAR’s 2017 annual campaign saw another increase in the detail and quality of reporting. Participation remains evenly distributed across the regions, which  we believe is a reflection of the level of support currently provided to users. The tool and guidance are available in six languages, with online help and an e-mail for sending queries directly to our OSCAR team.  We are keen to make this tool as inclusive and user-friendly as possible, so please send us your feedback. 
This year’s OSCAR campaign will open soon. Starting in May 2019, we will be collecting data on the 2018 emissions and sustainability progress of our designated operators. For more information, visit or e-mail

Central Government Employees Group Insurance Scheme 1980 - Tables of Benefits for the savings fund for the period from 01.04.2019 to 30.06.2019

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Provision of Local Language for engagement to Gramin Dak Sevak Posts-reg

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Considering transfer under Rule 38 against vacancies reported for filling up through Direct recruitment examination conducted by Staff Selection Commission

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Monday, June 3, 2019

Retirement of Superannuation

Shri K.C. Chinara, SPOs, Balasore Division, Balasore retired from Govt. Service on 31-05-2019(A/N) on superannuation. 

On the occasion of his retirement from Govt. Service, All India Association of Inspectors and Assistant Superintendents of Posts, Odisha Circle Branch bids him a respectful farewell and wishes him a good-health and peaceful life in his post-retirement days