Indian Postal System for PSC

Indian Postal System History

India Post is the world's biggest postal network, with 1.55 lakh post offices under 23 postal circles, out of which almost 1.4 lakh are in the rural areas.

In India, there are nine postal zones, eight for geographical regions and one exclusively for the Indian Army. It is indicated by the first digit of the Postal Index Number (PIN).

However, Indian postal service does not appear on the Universal Postal Union's top 10 list, and according to this ranking, Switzerland's postal system is the best postal service provider in the world. 

Kerala PSC has repeatedly asked questions from this topic, such as the years when speed post, money orders, pin codes, and other services were launched in India, the year the first stamp in the world was issued, and so on.


In India, the history of postal system though in its archaic form can be traced back to the Vedas (Atharva Veda) where sending messengers were a common form.

The first Sultan of Delhi, Qutubuddin Aibak in 1206-10 AD, was the first to introduce a systematic Arabian style (horse-drawn dak) postal system from Delhi to Bengal in the recorded history.

In the year 1296, Alauddin Khilji reformed this horse and foot postal system and named it Mahakama-i-Barid.

During 14th century, it was Arab traveler and historian Ibn Battuta who made the earliest reference to an official and much more reformed postal system in India. 

Ibn Battuta describes El Wolak (Horse carriers) and El Davah, (foot runners) during the reign of Mohammed bin Tughlaq.

The system was brought to its height during the 16th century under the great Mughal emperor Akbar, with a network of 2,000 miles of post roads.

Basic Facts

  • Largest Postal Network in the world.
  • Headquarters – Dak Bhawan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi.
  • Under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
  • Slogan – Service before help (April, 1959).
  • Included in the Union List.
  • The Governor general who founded Telegraph and Postal systems in India – Lord Dalhousie.
  • Mahatma Gandhi is the only person in the world who has been honored with a stamp from over 43 countries.
  • Highest post office in the world – Hikkim in Himachal Pradesh (150,000 Feet; Pin Code 172114).
  • Indian Postal Department celebrated its 150th anniversary in - 2005. 
  • First Postal ATM in India - Chennai.
  • The year in which the telegraph service was stopped in India - 2013 July 15.
  • The committee instituted by Central govt to study wage structure of Gramin Dak Sevaks in 2016 - Kamlesh Chandra Committee.
  • The brand name for personalized sheets of Postage Stamps of India Post - My Stamp.
    • On Engineers Day (September 15, 2020), the Department of Posts issued a Customized My Stamp commemorating India's first anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) launch.  
 Timeline of Indian Postal Service

Indian Postal Stamps

The stamps are regarded as the first ambassador of a state. Philately, popularly known as the "King of Hobbies," is the pastime of collecting and studying postal stamps.

The name "philately" was invented in 1864 by a Frenchman, Georges Herpin, from the Greek terms Philos, which means "love," and "ateleia," which means "tax-free."

The first stamp in the world, the Penny Black, was issued in 1840 by Great Britain.

So Great Britain is the only country that does not have to include its country name on its postal stamps, and the UPU (Universal Postal Union) exempted the United Kingdom in 1874.

  • Postal stamps in India are printed at – India Security Press, Nasik (From 1926 January 1 onwards).
  • First postage stamp of India – Scinde Dawk (July 1, 1852).
    • First Adhesive stamp in India – Scinde Dawk.
  • World's first bi-colored stamp – Four anna value stamp.
  • First stamp issued in India – Half anna blue colored stamp of Queen Victoria (May 1854).
  • First pictorial stamps were issued in – 1931.
  • First stamp in independent India – Indian Flag. (Value: three and one-half annas, 1947 Nov 21).
    • Second stamp of independent India – Ashoka Lion Capital.
  • First Stamp issued for domestic use – Ashoka Lion Capital.  (Value: 1.50 annas,  December 15, 1947).
  • First Person to appear on the postal after India's Independence – Mahatma Gandhi (August 15, 1948).
  • First Woman who appeared on an Indian stamp – Meera bai (1951).
    • Second Woman who appeared on an Indian stamp – Jhansi Rani (1957).
  • First painter to feature on an Indian postal stamp – Nandalal Bose (1967).
  • First Actor who appeared on an Indian stamp – Nargis Dutt.
  • First Dancer who appeared on an Indian stamp – Rugmini Devi.
  • First Foreigner who appeared on an Indian stamp – Jean Henri Dunant (1957).
  • First Foreign Woman who appeared on an Indian stamp – Annie Besant.
  • First Emperor who appeared on an Indian stamp – Chandra Gupta Maurya.
  • First Mughal Emperor appeared in postal stamp – Akbar.
  • First Prime Minister who appeared on an Indian stamp – Jawaharlal Nehru (1964).
  • First American President who appeared on an Indian stamp – Abraham Lincoln.
  • First University which was featured in Indian postal stamp – Nalanda.
  • First Couple to be featured on Indian postal stamp – Mahatma Gandhi & Kasturba.
  • First Indian newspaper to be honored on Postal Stamp – Times of India (1947).
  • First Institute to be honored on Postal Stamp – Air-India International.
  • The first commemorative stamp on an event – First Asian Games (1952).
  • First Foreign Country which published the stamp of Mahatma Gandhi – USA.


The postal zone in which Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep are included in is the postal zone 6.
  • First post office in Kerala – Alappuzha (1857).
  • First princely state in India to have started their own postal system – Travancore.
    • Postal system of Travancore – Anchal System.
  • First Indian state to implement speed post service in all their post offices – Kerala.
  • First Keralite to appear on an Indian postal stamp – Sree Narayana Guru.
  • First Malayali woman who appeared on an Indian stamp – Saint Alphonsa.
  • First Chief Minister to appear on an Indian postal stamp – E.M.S.
  • First King who appeared on an Indian stamp – Swati Thirunal.
  • First Poet who appeared on an Indian stamp – Kumaranasan.
  • First Malayali Painter to feature on an Indian postal stamp – Raja Ravi Varma. (1971)

Various Postal Schemes and Services by Indian Postal System

Project ARROW

  • Introduced in – April 2008. 
  • Purpose – Updating Post Offices in both urban and rural locations.
  • In 2010, Project Arrow was awarded the "Prime Ministers' Award for Excellence in Public Administration" for the years 2008-2009.

Deen Dayal SPARSH (Scholarship for Promotion of Aptitude & Research in Stamps as a Hobby) Yojana

  • Introduced in – 2018.
  • Purpose – To promote philately among school children by giving scholarships.

Five Star Villages

  • First implemented in – Maharashtra.
  • Purpose – To address gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services, particularly in rural areas.

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)

  • Public sector bank.
  • Established in – 2018 September 18. 
  • Established by – RBI.
  • Purpose – To makes use of the postal network to enable making banking services available at people’s doorstep.

  • Philately – Study & collection of postage stamps.
  • Deltiology – Study & collection of postcards. 
  • World Post Day – October 9.
  • National Post Day – October 10.
  • National Philately Day – October 12.
  • National Philatelic Museum – New Delhi.
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU) – 
    • Established – 1874.
    • Headquarters – Bern (Switzerland).
  • Asian Postal Union (APU) – 
    • Established – 1964.
    • Headquarters – Manila (Philippines).
  • Postal Staff College is located at – Ghaziabad (UP).
  • World's first adhesive postage stamp – Penny Black.
  • Jean Henri Dunant – Founder of Red cross. 
  • First Woman President of Indian National Congress – Annie Besant.
  • First Country to have a postal system – Egypt.
  • First Country in the modern age to have a postal system – England.
  • The Country which issued the biggest postal stamp – China.
  • First Country in the world to issue a perfumed postage stampBhutan (1973). 
  • First Perfumed Stamp of India was released in – 2006 (Sandalwood).
  • In 2017, India produced a scented postage stamp. What flavor was it released in? Coffee.
  • First Minister of Communication of India – C.R.K Kidwai.
  • Author of the Play 'The Post Office' – Rabindranath Tagore (1912).
    • Translated to English by – W. B. Yeats.
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