Stamp row: Ravi Shankar Prasad says one family can’t get all honour

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New Delhi | Updated: September 17, 2015 1:04:10 AM

The Union government has landed in a controversy over the discontinuation of postage stamps featuring former PMs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi...

The Union government has landed in a controversy over the discontinuation of postage stamps featuring former PMs Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, with telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stating that one family should not have a monopoly.

Briefing mediapersons on Wednesday, the minister said henceforth the definitive postage stamps would represent the diversity of India. There are two types of postage stamps issued — commemorative and definitive. The former is released once and latter is for daily use.

“Our government respects the contributions of all and wants to give them due respect… it includes all great men and women of India.” He pointed out that everyone who has helped towards the creation of India must be honoured.

Philatelic Advisory Committee (PAC), a body under the Department of Posts (DoP), has decided to discontinue the definitive stamps of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

The PAC is set up by the telecommunications minister and they meet from time to time and consist of eminent artists from diverse fields, vice chancellors, intellectuals, poets and painters.

The government may also discontinue featuring Indira Gandhi on the inland letter and replace it with Yoga.

According to DoP, PAC is a recommendatory body and its role is to advise the government about issues concerning Commemorative or Special Postage Stamps and all other allied matters of philately including formulation of guidelines for issue of such stamps is to ensure philatelic value of the stamps when issued.

A news report,  based on an RTI query, recently said two stamps featuring Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, launched by DoP in December 2008.

The Congress party has alleged that the BJP government has been renaming and re-packaging all the welfare programmes and projects initiated by their government.

Minister Prasad however refuted Congress’s allegations stating that “Commemorative stamp on Indira Gandhi has been released on four occasions and on Rajiv Gandhi on two occasions, on Jawaharlal Nehru  about six occasions…about two months ago.  Philatelic Advisory Committee (PAC) had made recommendations on issue of new stamps and that I have accepted,” said Prasad.

The annual stamp issue programme would be announced by December end and there would be no changes in the number of stamps and the notified dates of issue.

The new category will have 24 stamps featuring prominent personalities and a stamp on yoga. Only four people —Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and B R Ambedkar, have made to the new list.

Some of the personalities who will feature in the new series include icons of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) such as Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.

Others who will now features on the postage stamps include Rajendra Prasad, Subhash Chandra Bose, Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, Swami Vivekananda, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Vallabhbai Patel, Rabindranath Tagore Jayaprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia.

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