During his tenure as Union Minister, Communications and Information Technology was at the core of Jyotiraditya’s first portfolio. Within the telecommunications sector, he ideated several reforms such as mobile number portability. His most striking contribution was the transformation of the Indian postal department from a cost-centre to a profit centre.
Jyotiraditya’s vision for the postal department was to renovate it into ‘a window to the world’ for the common man. He and his team began with a complete Business Process Restructuring (BPR) for the postal department, which was followed by a total rebranding and repositioning of the department. This appeared in the form of Project Arrow, which covered almost 1,000 post offices over a period of 8 months.
Till date, Project Arrow serves as a channel to improve the aesthetics, the ‘feel’ and service delivery metrics of Indian Post Offices and remains a significant offshoot of the Postal Department. The initiative also won the Prime Minister’s award for the best public sector transformation project.
Project Arrow demonstrates that changing a large and complex organisation, which is mired in stringent legislations and rules, is a possibility with innovative ideation and a committed effort.
The need of the hour was the revision of set processes and a change in culture. Once this was achieved, post offices almost immediately became more customer-centric, generated high revenue, and were able to expand their portfolio of efficient services. Two of the most successful, yet softer aspects of the Project Arrow, was obtaining the approval from the HRD Ministry for children of dak-sevaks to be admitted under the government staff quota into Kendriya Vidyalayas and the grant of a “shoe allowance” to all the dak-sevaks who until then had to spend their hard-earned money on expensive footwear that would be able to bear the brunt of their brutal lifestyle in which they spent several hours on their feet everyday.
Project Arrow was a humbling initiative for Jyotiraditya because ultimately, it was the lakhs of people in the India Post team who championed and sustained its ideals.