In an inevitable turn of events, Indian postal department has sought ban on all open letters.
Indians all over the Facebook and other social networks have been composing and sharing open letters. From Lashkar-e- Taiba’s letter to Malala Yousafzai to a poor dalit man in UP who wrote to Rahul Gandhi inviting him to BYOF (bring your own food) party when he drops by for a visit, the internet bandwidths have been tested with the swarm of open letters.
In a super-exclusive (yes, even more exclusive than what any of the NDTV reports claim to be) interview Ms. Manjula Parashar, Secretary to Government of India in the Department of Posts told us “Considering the sheer volume of netizens in India, who don’t have a life and have been sharing these letters, India postal department has lost out on Rs. 153.5 Crore worth potential stamp/envelop revenue every month starting from 2011. This is more serious loss compared to petty ones being voiced aloud by media like sand mining in Uttar Pradesh. If not addressed right now, we may end up losing our postal service in the similar way as telegram services were discontinued last month”.
Upon being asked about the accuracy of the estimates, we were directed to her Chief Analyst, Tarun Mehta, a campus hire from one of the IIMs. “Let’s assume there are 10 crore active users on Facebook. Of these approximately 25% have a hobby of sharing any posts they receive on Facebook. Of these 50% of posts are about Rahul Gandhi. From the rest, after application of rules of probability and statistics, we can safely assume 25.75 lakh people to be sharing at an average 4 open letters every month. Assuming everyone on an average will have 30 of their friends going on to read these letters, the number turns out to be 30.5 crore shared letters. Taking an average of Rs. 5 worth potential revenue per letter, we could have earned Rs 152.5 Crores with a +-2% error”, said Tarun who loves solving guesstimates.
When our correspondent tried to delve deeper in the issue we found postmen across India actually believe the open letters are a blessing in disguise. Haricharan Singh, a post man at Gol Dak Khaana in Connaught Place New Delhi (on the condition of anonymity), told us– “With more open letters in circulation, our work is greatly reduced. I can think of taking up another job.” Given the logistics experience of these postmen, job consultants have been in a rush to add them on their LinkedIn contact list to present them opportunities to work with Flipkart and Amazon.
“I always believed social networks have been causing us cultural and financial losses. We need to maintain control over what our people do over internet. We can then know who has shared what and then on the basis of Facebook impressions and actual clicks we can tax these individuals.”, said Kapil Sibbal, when we pinged him by a “Hi” on yahoo messenger and after he initially replied by typing “ASL please”.