Friday, January 06, 2012

The Pincode – The “Steering Wheel” of a Letter

  A special intro by *Dr. K. Parameswaran on PIN code week     15-21 January  

Image Courtesy
  The small rectangular box, with six partitions, that appear on all postal articles in India is ignored by many and left unfilled by even more! However for the postal department, the small box represents nothing less than the “steering wheel” of a letter! The box is used to fill in the PIN code of the place to which the letter is being sent. What is the PIN code? How does it work?
 What is a PIN code?
             The PIN code is the abbreviation of Postal Index Number (PIN) code. This is a unique 6 digit code, allotted to all post offices that deliver mail in India. Since one code can relate only to one post office, the use of the code is the sure fast way of ensuring that the letter reaches the correct post office.
 How does it work?
 For the implementation of the PIN code system, the entire nation has been divided into eight PIN zones. The following table indicates the identification numbers and extent of each zone. 


States Covered
 Delhi, Haryana, Punjab,
 Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir
 Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal
 Rajasthan and Gujarat
 Chattisgarh ,Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh 
 Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
 Kerala and Tamil Nadu
 West Bengal, Orissa and North Eastern
 Bihar & Jharkand
 As was indicated at the beginning, the PIN code is a six digit number. The first digit will indicate one of these zones. The second and third digits together indicate the district where in the delivery post office is situated. The next three digits will indicate the particular post office where the letter is to be delivered. In short, the first 3 digits together will indicate the sorting or revenue district where the letter is to be basically routed. The last 3 digits refer to the actual post office where the article is to be finally delivered.

For example, if one hails from Kozhikode, a city in Kerala, the PIN code for the post office in that area is 673 006. Here the first digit 6 indicates that the letter is headed for the sixth PIN zone – Tamil nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala. The digits seven and three (the second and third digits of the code) will show that the destination of the letter is more precisely situated in the Kozhikode (formerlyCalicut) district of Kerala. The final three digits – 006 – will ensure that the letter gets routed to post office number 006 in Kozhikode – a small locality called Bilathikulam! A letter posted even in Alaska or Siberia – if it has sufficient postage stamps on it – will reach its destination if the PIN code is correctly indicated on the postal article!

Let us take another example. The PIN code for the Press Information Bureau in Madurai is 625 020. Here the first digit 6 again stands for the PIN zone – Tamil nadu, Pondicherry and Kerala. The next two digits – 25 – represent the District of Madurai, while the two final digits -20 - together represents the post office of Gandhi nagar, the delivery post office for PIB, Madurai!

Here it is also important to note that the number given to the Gandhi nagar post office in the city of Madurai in Tamil nadu is unique. No other post office inIndia will have this number. A check with the post PIN code directory will reveal that the delivery post offices in Mathura – the holy city in Uttar Pradesh (UP) – with which the temple city of Madurai is likely to be confused has a completely different PIN code – 281 001. Two stands for the PIN zone consisting of UP and Uttarkhand; 81 represents the district of Mathura while 001 stands fro Mathura Head Post office.
ZIP system in USA 
            ZIP codes are a system of postal code numbers used by the United States Postal Services (USPS) since 1963. The term ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan. It was chosen in the belief that it will suggest that the postal articles will travel more efficiently, and therefore more quickly, when senders use the code in the address. The basic format consists of five digits. An extended ZIP+4code, introduced in the 1980s, includes the five digits of the ZIP code and four more digits that determine a more precise location than the ZIP code alone.
 The United Kingdom system 
            The postal code system used in the United Kingdom is known aspostcode. The code uses both alphabets as well as numerals. They were introduced by the British Royal Mail system over a 15-year period from 11th October 1959 to 1974.  A full postcode is known as a "postcode unit" and usually corresponds to a set of addresses or a single large delivery point.
 Earlier, a system of postal districts was implemented in London and other large cities from 1857. In London this system was refined in 1917 to include numbered subdivisions, extending to the other cities in 1934. These earlier districts were later incorporated into the national postcode system.
 Zonal System – a precursor
             Attempts at streamlining the delivery system of postal articles in Indiahave a considerably long history. One of the earliest attempts in this direction was taken in 1946 itself – the Delivery Zone Numbering System. Under this system, each delivery post office was allotted a distinctive number. It was first introduced for the major cities like Bombay, Culcutta, Delhi and Madras. The public were requested to note Zone Numbers after the name of city, where this system was adopted. In absence of such an indication, articles were liable to delay.
 Postal Circles
             The organization of postal circles was also an attempt to streamline the delivery system and prevent long delays.

When the Postal facilities were opened to public on 1st April 1774, there were 3 Postal Circles namely Bengal, Bombay and Madras. Bengal was catering whole of Eastern and Northern regions of British EmpireMadras was handling whole of Southern region and the rest was catered by Bombay

After partition, Independent India had the following Postal Circles - Assam, Bengal, Bihar & Orissa, Bombay, Central, East Punjab, Madras and UP.         Today, India has 20 Postal Circles - Andhra PradeshAssam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, J & K, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, North Eastern, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh,West Bengal and the Army Postal Service.
  *Assistant Director, PIB,Madurai 

Florida Woman Loses 84 Pounds to Join Army

By Cynthia Rivers-Womack
U.S. Army Recruiting Command
GAINESVILLEFla.,Jan.3, 2012:Allison Scarbrough officially changes jobs today, from retail cashier to health care specialist in the U.S. Army. But the change has not been easy.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Allison Scarbrough of Gainesville, Fla., lost 84 pounds to qualify for service in the Army. U.S. Army photo 
Scarbrough, then 20, walked into the recruiting station here in May 2010 ready to become a soldier. But because she carried 240 pounds on her 5-foot, 5-inch frame, she had to lose 84 pounds and keep the weight off before she would be eligible to enlist.In 2010, Scarbrough belonged to the country's growing demographic of 18-to-24-year-olds considered overweight and obese. In 1998 -- when the National Institutes of Health released the first federal guidelines to identify, evaluate and treat overweight and obese adults -- 97 million Americans, or 55 percent, were identified as overweight or obese.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that in 1998, only one state had 40 to 49 percent of its 18-to-24-year-old population classified as overweight or obese. By 2008, that number had grown to 39 states. The CDC uses a height-weight calculation known as body-mass index, or BMI, to determine whether someone is overweight or obese. The Army also uses BMI measurements to determine weight, with different calculations for men and women.
Keenly aware of weight-management issues among its active-duty and reserve soldiers, Army officials began offering the service's "Weigh to Stay" program online in 2006. The initial program was designed for in-person sessions, but the online platform made the program more accessible and self-directed, according to a 2006 interview with Army Lt. Col. Danny Jaghab, site creator and past nutrition staff officer at the U.S. Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. In addition, the Army now provides a platform at http://www.hooah4health to help soldiers in their goals to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
When Scarborough realized she could not join the Army until she lost 84 pounds and kept it off, she said, she changed her behavior toward food and modified her lifestyle and eating habits. She began eating more vegetables and doing away with high-caloric drinks, fast-foods and unnecessary snacks.
Encouraged by her recruiter, Army Staff Sgt. Terrance Retsch, Scarborough started physical training in September 2011 with the future soldiers of the Gainesville recruiting station.
"I knew when Scarbrough came into our office she would take the challenge to lose weight and would be successful," Retsch said. "She's determined and strong-willed, plus the Army gave her a bigger purpose that had immediate and long-term benefits: improving her health and becoming a soldier."
Scarbrough said the transition has been good for her body and her mind.
"Weight shouldn't be something that stops you from doing what you really want," she said. "Losing weight is a lot of work, but even when you hit a plateau you have to keep at it. My mother didn't think I would follow through with losing the weight or joining the Army, but I did it, and now I'm ready to go."