With the advent of technology, usage of postal stamps or postal products for communication has decreased substantially. The Department of Posts now has a ‘My Stamp’ initiative that aims at encouraging people to buy customized stamps. Here is an explainer of this initiative.
Commemorating the establishment of Universal Postal Union, 09 October every year is celebrated as World Post Day. India Post celebrates National Postal Week from 09 October to 15 October every year by organising wide variety of programs ranging from exhibitions to competitions in order to spread awareness on postal services and schemes. With the advent of technology, postal services are witnessing a decline in demand since communication has become quick and simple. The annual reports of the Department of Posts reveal that the revenue from sale of stamps has reduced substantially over the last few years. The revenue from sale of stamps decreased from Rs. 470.9 crore in 2016-17 to just Rs. 78.3 crore in 2018-19, a drop of more than 80%.
The My Stamp scheme through which personalised stamps are sold was launched to promote use of stamps in the current technological era. This story provides an explanation of the ‘My Stamp’ initiative.
Personalised stamps of face value Rs.5 each are available for all under My Stamp scheme
World Philatelic Exhibition, INDIPEX was organised by India Post (Department of Posts) in 2011 where My Stamp scheme was launched in the country for the first time. My Stamp is the brand name for the business development of postal department. Anyone can have his/her thumbnail photograph be it their own photograph or that of family, artwork, tourist spots, wildlife, flowers, historical monument, logos or anything else, alongside a thematic commemorative postage stamp as per their choice. The stamp, which has a value of Rs.5, can be used for domestic postage.
For commemorative stamps, a proposal has to be sent to the Philately Advisory Committee two years in advance. The proposal is scrutinised by the committee which decides whether or not it will be recommended. Unlike commemorative stamps which have to undergo a tedious process, getting a personalised My Stamp is simple and takes only a few minutes to process.
There are dozens of options for customers to choose from the thematic commemorative stamp which will be accompanying their photograph. Some examples are Indian monuments such as Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Mysore Palace, Qutb Minar, and Hawa Mahal, flowers such as Cineraria, Dahlia, Lilly and Pansy, butterflies and even Fairy Queen, the heritage locomotive of India.
Stamp sheets with the customer’s photograph is made on submitting required documents and payment of fee.
My Stamp is available at select post offices, philately bureaux, philatelic museums and tourist spots. The My Stamp order form has to be filled by the customer. Details such as name, address, contact details and ID proof should be filled. Government recognised valid ID Proof is mandatory at the time of placing the order. Photograph (square shape), which is to be added to the stamp, should not be offensive or one that contravenes law. It can be either sent to or clicked at the select post offices. The stamp sheets should be collected within a week. The cost of one My Stamp sheet is Rs. 300 and each sheet has twelve stamps. There are discounts for those placing bulk orders. A Lok Sabha answer stated that in 2016-17, postal department estimated earnings of approximately Rs. 87 crores through My Stamp.
|Number of Sheets||Discount|
|More than 100||10% for first 100 sheets and 20% off for additional sheets|
Authorised personnel should apply for corporate entities on their letter pad
As per the postal department’s website, educational institutions and corporate entities can also get their own stamp. For corporate customers, an authorised signatory has to apply along with his/her valid ID proof on the official letter pad. Logos/images of corporate entities can also be incorporated in their stamp. It is mandatory for corporate customers to place an order of at least 500 sheets.
Government provides scholarship under ‘Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana’ to promote philately
Though postage stamps were originally created as small pieces of paper to mark the receipt of postage, stamps serve a variety of purposes. They highlight a nation’s achievements, depict important milestones, promote national heritage among other things. In addition to this, there are stamps that honour eminent personalities and leaders of the country. Stamps convey a lot of valuable information about a place, person, history and culture through time. To encourage school children to collect stamps, the government also awards annual scholarship of Rs. 6000 to school children under Deen Dayal SPARSH Yojana (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby is the full form of SPARSH).
My Stamp initiative not only acts as a means of revenue generation for the postal department but also gives the people a memorable souvenir which can be cherished for a life time.