Indian government auditor claims “Speed post” is faster than private couriers

Indian government auditor claims “Speed post” is faster than private couriers

India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has reported that Department of Posts’ (DoP) Speed Post service is “better than the services provided by private courier services”. CAG recently released a study which examined DoP’s performance across a wide range of core activities, including its mail delivery service, savings bank, and money remittances.

In the postal service area, the CAG made a particular study of the Speed Post service, which was introduced in 1986 “to provide a fast and time bound delivery service” in major cities. It has since expanded across the country and consistently accounts for more than 10% of DoP’s total revenue.

In order to compare the DoP’s Speed Post service with that provided by private courier companies, the CAG conducted a test check in eight postal circles: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

“The test check was conducted by posting letters to local, major cities and tehsils,” said CAG. A total of 284 test letters were posted by Speed Post and 287 by different private courier service providers. The couriers included DTDC, First Flight, Blue Dart/DHL and various small, local companies.

The test results showed that in “local areas” 98% of the letters sent by Speed Post were delivered successfully, compared to 93.55 for the private couriers.  In terms of speed of delivery, the letters took between one and 11 days with DoP service, and between one and 12 days with the private couriers.

“In major cities,” according to the CAG study, “99.05% letter were delivered by Speed Post whereas in the case of private couriers the percentage was only 92.17%. In respect of Tehsil level, delivery performance of Speed Post was 100% as compared to 83.54% of private courier service.”

Speed Post also compared favourably in terms of the time taken for deliveries. Major city deliveries took up to nine days via Speed Post and up to 10 via private courier. At the Tehsel level, the maximum number of days taken by Speed Post and private courier were seven and 23 respectively.

The CAG commented: “It could be concluded that the Speed Post service of DoP was better than the services provided by the private couriers, though there was still room for improvement in Speed Post service in certain areas.”

The CAG report does not state how many of the private courier letters were sent by the big name companies, and how many by the small, local operators. In terms of the days taken to complete deliveries, the services of DoP and the private couriers appear broadly comparable, apart from the fact that one letter sent by private courier at the Tehsil level took 23 days to arrive – but this could have been one rogue delivery.

The study, Report no.-20 of 2015 -Union Government (Communications and IT Sector) – Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Communications and IT, is available on the CAG website. It was  presented to the Indian Parliament on 8 May. Click here to view.

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