India celebrates The 50th Anniversary Of Postal Index Number (PIN)
August 15 marks another significant milestone for India. This year, India not just celebrates 75 years of country’s independence from British Raj but also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Postal Index Number (PIN), more commonly known as pin code – which is a crucial role in any address – plays a crucial role in helping India Post and private couriers, as well as other essential goods - reach the right addresses. India currently has the largest postal service network in the entire globe. In the six-digit Indian postal code system that India Post employs, a PIN code is a code. At the time of Independence, India had 23,344 post offices, the most of which were in urban areas. But because the nation was expanding quickly, the postal system needed to keep up. India Post claims that 23 postal circles have been established throughout the nation to provide postal services. Each of these rings is headed by a Chief Postmaster General.
On August 15, 1972, Shriram Bhikaji Velankar, an additional secretary in the Union Ministry of Communications, created the Postal Identification Number system in India. He is considered as the ‘father of the postal index code system’ in India. Three years after being honoured with the President's Award for his contributions to the Sanskrit language, he passed away in Mumbai in 1999. He was a renowned Sanskrit poet. Additionally, Velankar served as the chairman of the World Philatelic Exhibition, or Indipex, which featured 120 nations and was held in New Delhi in 1973. On December 31, 1973, he ceased serving in the government.
The system was put in place to make human letter sorting and delivery (one of the very few available forms of communication at the time) easier and to prevent confusion caused by inaccurate or similar addresses, place names that were the same in several languages, etc. A PIN consists of six digits: the first one identifies the zone, the second the sub-zone, and the third, when combined with the first two, the sorting district inside that zone. The last three digits are allocated to specific post offices within the sorting district. India has nine postal zones, including one functional zone and eight regional zones (for the Indian Army). The zone is indicated by the first digit of the PIN code, which is valid across all nine zones. A sorting district, which has its headquarters at the main post office of the major city in the area, is represented by the third digit of a PIN when it is coupled with the first two digits. The route on which a delivery office is in the sorting district is represented by the fourth digit. The delivery office within the sorting district is represented by the final two digits, commencing with 01, which would be the General Post Office or head office. Each PIN is assigned to a single delivery post office that receives all mail for delivery to one or more lower offices under its purview and which all have the same code.
Globally, the US Postal Service's Nationwide Improved Mail Service plan, which was created to increase the speed of mail delivery, saw the introduction of the Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) code on July 1, 1963. In the UK, automated mail sorting first appeared in the middle of the 1960s. In July 1968, Japan established its postal code address system, and the country's main post offices now have automatic postal code reader-sorters.
It is simple to doubt the value of the PIN code in the age of the Internet and declining letter usage. One would believe that the "pin code" no longer has the same significance in today's world, where emails have taken the place of letters and social media platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, and others have become commonplace means of contact. However, the pin code is still necessary to prevent duplication and identify the correct location as more and more e-commerce platforms, courier services, and food delivery services open for business. However, if you try to order a meal delivery or a package instead of purchasing online, you'll see how important Velankar's effort was for India.