India Uncut

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Friday, April 21, 2006

A monopoly reappears

The Telegraph reports:
The next time you need to send an urgent letter, you may have to depend on snail mail.

The government today proposed amendments to the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, banning private courier companies from carrying letters weighing less than 300 gm.

The private courier industry is livid, but the government’s defence is that it needs this monopoly to be able to fund cheap postal services in remote areas.
Well, I googled for and found the text of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, and I think it is a monstrosity: It establishes a monopoly, deprives us all of choice as to how we want to send our mail, and prevents would-be entrepreneurs from setting up shop in this area.

Indeed, I believe that if the act was entirely scrapped, the objective that the government cites -- cheap postal services in remote areas -- would be far more quickly achieved. Enabling private enterprise will achieve far more than stifling it, and I know -- duh! -- that's stating the obvious. But too many people still don't get it.

Cross-posted on The Indian Economy Blog.
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