I would like to know the cost incurred by the Indian Post for
printing, distributing, and selling postage stamps as a percentage of
the average face value of a typical 5 Rupee stamp. The answer needs
to reference credible sources in order to be useful, but I can accept
an answer that makes reasonable assumptions to connect disparate
facts. For example, I have seen claims that in the US, the cost of
printing and distributing stamps is about 23% of a typical $0.37 first
By ?printing, distributing, and selling? I specifically mean the cost
of labor and materials for producing the stamps, transportation and
storage cost including any unusual security measures used, and the
cost for a counter clerk to complete a typical cash transaction to
sell one or more stamps (which every is considered typical). Once
again, I am willing to accept an answer that makes reasonable
assumptions, but it should account for or consider the elements
I have seen the India Post annual report
(http://www.indiapost.org/AnnualReport.html) and it provides
information on operating expenses, but it does not break out costs
specific to stamps.
Request for Question Clarification by
08 Nov 2004 09:16 PST
It turns out there is actually a good deal of detailed information on
the IndiaPost site about costs and revenue that are included in two
documents other than the annual report that are available online.
Even with the more detailed information, though, it's difficult to
know in advance if the numbers are exactly what you're looking for.
For instance, IndiaPost report that the costs of "Stamps/Postcards"
came to 224.1 million Rs. in the same year that income from the sale
of stamps came to 9,827 million Rs. So, simple math puts the ratio of
costs to income at 2.3%.
A separate document includes a table of: "PERCENTAGE OF ITEMS OF
EXPENDITURE TO REVENUE EARNED", puts the cost/revenue percentage for
"Stationery and Printing (including stamps, Postcards, etc.)" at
anywhere from 1.7-2.6%.
However, the documents do not provide much detail on exactly what
costs are included in the "stamps/postcards" category. I would guess
these are largely the actual production costs, so that other items you
mentioned (security, fraction of manpower costs related to stamps,
etc) aren't necessarily included in these figures.
Perhaps you should look over the document on "Review of Revenue
Receipts" to get an idea of some of the additional information that is
A second online document contains a good deal of additional information as well.
Would identifying both documents containing the additional level of
detail meet your needs for information about the costs and income from
If not, let me know how you would like a researcher to make use of the
available data to estimate total costs and receipts pertaining to
stamps, and I'll certainly see if I can take a stab at it.
Clarification of Question by
10 Nov 2004 11:29 PST
It looks like the values that have been identified only cover the cost
of actually producing stamps. The number I am looking for is the cost
of the whole "system" of using stamps, that includes things like the
cost of a counter transaction to sell them and the cost of securely
distributing them out to multiple post offices. The answer could
either research each of these areas and provide an estimate on each
one, or it could deduce what the cost must be by starting from a
different point (such as total postal costs or something like that).
For example, the annual cost for all postal counter clerks is $x, they
sell an aggregate of $y in postage, so the cost of having a clerk sell
a stamp is approximately (x/y)*(cost of average stamp). I would be
satisfied with that type of reasoning, provided that it covered the
full chain of printing stamps, distributing them, and selling them.
Request for Question Clarification by
12 Nov 2004 11:43 PST
I've taken a good look through the India Post annual report, Book or
Information, Revenue Sheets, and other materials available on line.
I'm afraid I haven't yet found a way to make reasonable estimates for
the figures you're looking for, though. Perhaps with a bit more
thought, I can come up with something. In the mean time, however,
maybe another researcher will have more success in generating some
appropriate numbers for you.
Best of luck,