In spite of an incredible outburst of knowledge and information technology, the age-old postal system has not only outlasted, but is also in greater demand. Postal services were inaugurated for the public in India, in 1837. By 1854 the number increased to 700 post offices. During the time of Independence, India obtained over 23,000 post offices. By 1997-98 their total number had amplified to over 153,000. From these, over 137,000 are in countrysides. It is striking that now-a-days a post office on an average attends to a population of roughly 5,500 and an area of 21 & 1/2 sq. km. Post offices in country sides are subsidised to the extent of 66% and in inaccessible parts by or much as 85%.
Telegraph and Telephone Services
Telegraph services were inaugurated in Calcutta in 1851 and telephone service also started in Calcutta in 1881-82, soon after their invention in the United States o America. Today there are over 40,000 telegraph offices. There were more than 23,000 telephone exchanges in the country within 1997-98. India possesses the largest telecom network in Asia. There were practically 18 million operational telephones in India. STD and ISD services have long since become extremely popular in India, notwithstanding the high charges. Cellular and mobile phones and radio-paging, are the grandest developments in this arena. Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is a self-governing body looking after telephone services in Delhi and Mumbai. Tele services help post information in printed form, very swiftly. More than 200 cities in India benefit from this facility. Electronic or E-mail is quite low-priced and hence turning immensely popular.
Radio, Television and Cinema
Radio, television and cinema (films) are the electronic means of mass communication, in contrast to postal, telegraphic, telephone and telex services- which are fundamentally private in disposition.
On 31st December 1997, the total number of newspapers and periodicals being published was more than 41,000. They were printed and published in 100 languages and total number of copies had hit the 105 million mark. Hindi publication has a share of approximately 40% of the total. Books are an equally primary mode of communication, for upholding and spreading knowledge, information and entertainment to future generations.