In an era of instant communications, the traditional money transfer facility has made way for an electronic version, which was introduced in October 2008, thanks to the proliferation of mobile telephony and data communications in the country through the internet - 18 months after they led to the demise of the telegram.

"Yes, the traditional money order as we know it has been discontinued," said Shikha Mathur Kumar, deputy director general for finance with India Post based in the national capital. "What we have now are electronic money orders, or eMO, and instant money orders, or iMO, systems," Kumar said.

"Both these are much faster and simpler means to remit money."The iMO system, according to India Post, provides instant money order service for amounts ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs.50,000. An instant, web-based system, money can be remitted by designated iMO post offices - where an electronic version of a form is filled along with an identity proof.

Once the money is transferred electronically, along with one of the 33 standard messages that can be chosen by the remitter, the payee can visit the post office and receive the money on producing a proof of identity. The money can also be be credited to the savings bank of a payee.

According to information provided by India Post, the money order system was transferred from the official treasury department to the Posts and Telegraph Department in 1880 to save people the ardour of long journeys they had to often undertake to pay revenues and rent.

This was when Rai Saligram Bahadur, the second guru of the Radhasoami faith, was the postmaster-general of the North-Western Provinces, based out of Allahabad. He was the first Indian to hold that post and money order was one of the many firsts he brought to the table.

From a mere 283 such transactions at that time, it grew to 108 million by the time the service was in vogue for 100 years in 1980. The numbers dropped to around 95 million when the eMO and iMO schemes were launched and even further now, officials said.


Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk