A postcard which is sold for 50 paise actually costs the government Rs 7, according to an RTI response from the postal department listing the costs incurred by it on such services which are proving to be loss-making propositions for it.
In the year 2012-13, the per unit revenue earned from the sale of postcards was 50 paise whereas, to keep the service running, the per unit cost came to Rs 7.18, down from Rs 7.50 during 2010-11, the department said in its RTI response.
Similarly, the printed postcard was bringing a revenue of Rs 6 although the cost incurred on it was Rs 7.19 per unit in the year 2012-13. The RTI query further found that the cost of a letter card was Rs 7.18 per unit whereas the revenue earned from it was Rs 2.50.
The postal department also incurs a loss in dispatching registered newspapers with the per unit cost for a single dispatch being Rs 10.59 while Rs 20.79 is the cost for sending newspaper bundles. However, the revenue earned is a meagre 59 paise for single and Rs 1.63 for bundled dispatches, the reply said.
The postal department also said that while insurance is offered at Rs 55.24, its cost was almost three times at Rs 141.82 during 2012-13. Each dispatch of a book packet costs the department Rs 9.51 but the revenue earned by it for every delivery is Rs 2.90.
Each parcel brings revenue of Rs 40.69 while the cost incurred for sending the same is Rs 46.58. Printed books gave a revenue of Rs 2.90 to the department while the cost of dispatching such material was Rs 12.44, it added.
The response provided to applicant SC Agrawal said, "It is submitted that no annual profit and loss account is prepared in this section. However, allocation of expenditure and revenue to around 30 services is being maintained every year as an annual costing exercise on the basis of data received from different sections of the directorate."