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
2-100 10%
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.

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