In order to bridge the gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services in interior villages, the Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country, according to an official statement.

All postal products and services will be made available and marketed and publicized at the village level, under the Five Star Villages scheme. Branch offices will function as a one-stop-shop to cater to all post-office-related needs of villagers.

The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:

1. Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC/ KVP certificates
2. Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts
3. Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts
4. Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy
5. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana Account/ Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana Account.

If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village gets three-star status and so on.

Launching the scheme on Thursday, Union Communications Minister Sanjay Dhotre said that the scheme is being launched on a pilot basis in Maharashtra; based on the experience here, it will be implemented nation-wide.

“The entire state of Maharashtra will be covered under the scheme. To begin with, two rural districts/areas for each region have been identified: Akola and Washim in Nagpur Region; Parbhani and Hingoli in Aurangabad Region; Solapur and Pandharpur in Pune Region; Kolhapur and Sangli in Goa Region; and Malegaon and Palghar in Navi Mumbai Region,” the minister said.

He further said that a total of 50 villages in each district will be covered during the current financial year 2020-2021. Regional offices will identify the villages to be covered.

The scheme will be implemented by a team of five Gramin Dak Sevaks who will be assigned a village for the marketing of all products, savings, and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts.

This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office. The mail overseer will keep personal watches on the progress of the team on daily basis. The teams will be led and monitored by concerned Divisional Head, Assistant Superintendents Posts, and Inspector Posts.

The team of Gramin Dak Sevaks will conduct a door-to-door awareness campaign on all schemes, covering all eligible villagers.

Required training and infrastructure, covering all schemes, would be provided to all branch offices in identified villages. The scheme progress and target achievement will be closely monitored at Circle, Regional and Divisional levels. Monthly progress will be reviewed by the Chief Post Master General, said the ministry statement.