Indian postal service Educational card, late 19th or early 20th century
Posts and the British Raj (1858–1947)
The British Raj was instituted in 1858, when the rule of the East India Company was transferred to the Crown.
A number of acts were enacted during the British Raj to expand and regulate Posts and Telegraphs service:
- The Government Savings Bank Act 1873 (5 of 1873), passed by the legislature 28 January 1873, was enacted in 1881. On 1 April 1882, Post Office Savings Banks opened throughout India (except in the Bombay Presidency). In Madras Presidency, it was limited; in the Bengal Presidency, no POSBs were established in Calcutta or Howrah.
- Postal life insurance began on 1 February 1884 as a welfare measure for the employees of the Posts & Telegraphs Department as Government of India dispatch No. 299 dated 18 October 1882 to the Secretary of State.
- Telegraph Act, 1885 (Indian Telegraph Act)
- The Indian Post Office Act 1898 (6 of 1898), passed by the legislature on 22 March 1898, became effective on 1 July 1898 regulating postal service. It was preceded by Act III of 1882 and Act XVI of 1896.
- The Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933 (17 of 1933)
The world's first official airmail flight took place in India on 18 February 1911, a journey of 18 kilometres (11 mi) lasting 27 minutes. Henri Pequet, a French pilot, carried about 15 kilograms (33 lb) of mail (approximately 6,000 letters and cards) across the Ganges from Allahabad to Naini; included in the airmail was a letter to King George V of the United Kingdom. India Post inaugurated a floating post office in August 2011 at Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir. Telegraphy and telephony made their appearance as part of the postal service before becoming separate departments. The Posts and Telegraphs Departments merged in 1914, dividing again on 1 January 1985.
After independence in 1947
Since India became independent in 1947, the postal service continues to function on a nationwide basis, providing a variety of services. The structure of the organization has the directorate at its apex; below it are circle offices, regional offices, the superintendent's offices, head post offices, sub-post offices and branch offices. In April 1959, the Indian Postal Department adopted the motto "Service before help"; it revised its logo in September 2008.
The number of post offices was 23,344 when India became independent in 1947 and these were primarily in urban areas. The number increased to 155,015 in 2016 and 90% of these were in rural areas.