As social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram have almost phased out traditional letter writing, the Department of Posts (DoP) has been witnessing a huge decline in the sale of postage and other stamps over the last few years.
Reply to an RTI query filed by a Neemuch-based activist has revealed this trend.
Revenue earned by the DoP from the sale of postage and other stamps dropped by 78.66 per cent to ₹78.25 crore in the financial year 2018-19, as compared to the previous year, it said.
In FY 2017-18, the revenue earned from the sale of stamps was ₹366.69 crore, while in FY 2016-17, the DoP had earned ₹470.90 crore from this, it added.
A DoP official said that besides ordinary postage stamps, the department also sales revenue stamps, philately (collection and study of postage stamps) and other stamps.
"However, the sale of postage stamps contributes the most in terms of revenue," he said.
Talking to PTI, a senior postman posted at the Tilak Nagar Post Office in Indore said, "There was a time when our bags would be full of letters. There used to be lots of private and government letters, but now private letters are rarely seen."
"These days, we have to deliver the letters of different government departments and private companies," he added.
Psychologists are also observing the effects of modern communication on people's psyche.
Dr Swati Prasad, a professional psychologist, said, "It is true that reading letters written by hand gives a feeling of affinity and they are often attached to an emotional memory. But fast social media communication and instant messaging services also have their own importance. The question is how do we use those means of communication?"
"It has often been seen that many social media users are in a haste to react, especially negatively, to a post. This impatience becomes a cause for stress and emotional turmoil later on, because the habit of giving a quick reaction to everything is affecting human relationship," she said.
In a bid to encourage the use of postal stamps, the DoP has been promoting 'My Stamp' initiative, which aims at providing personalised postal stamp experience.
The initiative allows one to have his photograph, logos or photo printed on the stamps after paying the prescribed fee.