The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country. The scheme seeks to bridge the gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services, especially in interior villages. All postal products and services will be made available and marketed and publicized at village level, under the Five Star Villages scheme. Branch offices will function as one-stop shop to cater all post office – related needs of villagers. The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include: i) Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates, ii) Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts, iii) Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts, iv) Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy and v) Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account.
If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village get three-star status and so on.
Launching the scheme, the Union Minister of State for Communications, Shri Sanjay Dhotre said that the scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra; based on the experience here, it will be implemented nation-wide. “Postman and Postal Department are a vital part of the ordinary citizen’s life. India Post has been serving the people in an extraordinary way in the difficult situation which has emerged due to COVID-19, by bringing them medicines and financial assistance. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi not only brought schemes, but has been ensuring their effective implementation as well. The Postal Department has been playing a major role in the implementation of Government schemes, leveraging the immense strength of its vast network. Postal schemes are known for providing highly secured deposits, they provide higher return of interest with low risk.” The Minister said that the way to realize the goal of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat is through collaborative efforts such as this, wherein various schemes have been brought together under one umbrella, with the goal of providing financial inclusion.
The entire state of Maharashtra will be covered under the scheme. To begin with, two rural districts / areas for each region have been identified: Akola and Washim in Nagpur Region; Parbhani and Hingoli in Aurangabad Region; Solapur and Pandharpur in Pune Region; Kolhapur and Sangli in Goa Region; and Malegaon and Palghar in Navi Mumbai Region. A total of 50 villages in each district will be covered during the current financial year 2020-2021. Regional offices will identify the villages to be covered.
Scheme Implementation Team
The scheme will be implemented by a team of five Gramin Dak Sevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products, savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts. This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office. Mail overseer will keep personal watch on progress of team on daily basis. The teams will be led and monitored by concerned Divisional Head, Assistant Superintendents Posts and Inspector Posts.
The team of Gramin Dak Sevaks will conduct door-to-door awareness campaign on all schemes, covering all eligible villagers. Wide publicity will be given by displaying the information on notice board of Branch Office. Prominent places of targeted villages like Panchayat Offices, schools, village dispensaries, bus depots, markets will also be used for advertising and pamphlets will be distributed. Small melas will be organized, considering COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Training and Monitoring
Required training and infrastructure, covering all schemes, would be provided to all branch offices in identified villages. The scheme progress and target achievement will be closely monitored at Circle, Regional and Divisional levels. Monthly progress will be reviewed by the Chief Post Master General.
The Chief Post Master General of Maharashtra Circle and Goa State, Shri Harish Chandra Agrawal assured the Minister that Maharashtra will provide a fine example in successful implementation of Five Star Villages Scheme, paving the way for the national roll-out of the scheme later. Director General (Posts), Shri Vineet Pandey; and Postmaster General, Mumbai Region, Ms Swati Pandey also attended the online launch.