THE PHILATELIC JOURNALISTS: Discussion - Definitive stamps of India

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Discussion - Definitive stamps of India



Dear Friends,

Recently we have received a mail from our member Pradeep Kumar Mallik from Patna, along with some shocking attachments regarding Indian Definitive stamps, taken from and published in Market Tipster Column of the Glen Stephens Monthly "Stamp News”, March 2013 issue. The comments made for the current Indian definitive stamps are read as follow :

Indian modern definitive stamps are often just woeful, for a country that is very keen to (be) taken seriously as a leading and emerging nation.”

Current India high value definitives look like they were produced by a half blind forger, using a 1980s laser printer near out of ink, and a blunt

nail to perforate them. Washed out colours, very crudely printed and screened, coarsely perforated, and on horrible cheap paper.”

“.............heavy overseas parcels seem to be wallpapered with Indian definitive stamps! High value current stamps used on overseas parcels

Showcase nation to the world, and the message these stamps send about India is VERY negative.”

“ I suspect anyone with access to a photocopier can forge better looking copies of these than the PO sells, so why some effort is not made

to print them professionally, is a mystery.”

“ Surely there are printers in India who can if they wish, replicate almost anything the West can produce”

All these comments with eye-opening illustrations can be seen using the following link:

This is shocking and indeed very shameful situation for us first as Indians and then as philatelists. Why did not we ourselves realise this?

Now, the point for our discussion regarding this important issue is as follows :

Is not it important and necessary for India Post to produce the definitive stamps on fine quality paper with latest

printing technologies and attractive designs ? Is the Department of Post doing right in projecting a dismal picture

of the country by producing poor quality stamps, which showcase India’s capabilities before the world ? ”

Here are some views / comments received from the members….


Madan Middha

Editor : Discussions

Philatelic Journalists Forum.



Naresh Agarwal - Bilaspur

“I felt very bad……… But then I cooled and controlled my emotions, looking in to the genuineness of the facts narrated. Undoubtedly, the quality of the Indian definitives is very poor, may it be paper, ink, printing, perforation or else.……..We must not forget that stamps are ambassador of the country. It is not only the subject matter which counts but stamp, as a piece in totality, represent a country. It is a mirror... but mirror needs to be clean and clear. There is urgent need to look in to this matter and INDIA POST should take immediate steps to improve this.”


Vijay Seth – New Delhi 

“We are not happy with the stamp designs, paper and, the list is quite long, let us all make our efforts on a common cause, I am sure we can bring a change…………….Persistence pays in the long run if you are working with a selfless motive……….…..I am willing to start a signature campaign on, (to) improve the designs and be firm on date of issue, stop personality worship, it has now become a  cult in India Post…………..we have over a crore Devis and Devtas, let us worship them in private…………….we as a nation on many occasions have ended up being a laughing stock in front of ,many nations. Let us bring an end to this…………”      


Rajesh Paharia - Jaipur

“It is indeed a good point of discussion since Postage stamps are considered as ambassadors of nation…………poorly produced stamps definitely portray bad image of the country.

But before going into it, does anybody have data and knowledge about cost of production and difference between the costs for good and poorly printed stamps. In order to discard the ( possible ) unacceptable reason of higher cost of production , we need to have this backup.”


Dr Avinash B. Jagtap - Switzerland

“There is nothing "surprising" or "shocking" what Mr. Glen Stephens of  "Stamp News" has to say about Indian Definitives.……………Also it is not clear, why India Post does not ask the opinion of the stamp collectors in India on the issue of the theme, which will  appeal to the stamp collectors at home and also abroad? In fact in Europe the respective philatelic bureaux do carry out an opinion pool to fix their strategy as regards the theme for their definitives. etc…………..Apart from it one should logically think that a definitive stamp of  Rs. 10 or 20, should appear large sized, with superb printing and the paper on which it is printed must be of a better grade than a commemorative stamp ………..”

“It is but very natural that when a person from outside criticizes the quality of India definitive stamps, we in India feel ourselves insulted. The question is: What the members, who decorate the chairs of the committee, which decides the fate of definitives do…………….. At present the decision making committee of India Post, which is responsible for the definitive stamps, is like a Step-Mother and the definitive stamps are her shabby and neglected children. What else one could say? I only wish and hope that your appeal will be heard at the upper level.”


Ajay Kumar Mittal – New  Delhi

“It is really a serious and important matter………….and should be discussed and get the view points from other concerned. I fully agree with the opinion that India Post should look into the matter and give a serious thought to this. Stamps are the paper ambassador of a country……………….. Countries like Japan, Australia, China and many others are producing very attractive definitive stamps. In present situations when use of stamps on letters is already reduced drastically……………. at least what we are producing should be attractive and of better quality. The quality of stamps which we are getting now is nowhere near our expectations. Quality checks at security printers are also not taken care of; you can find errors such as colour missing, perforation missing, paper folds, half printing, perforation shift or mis-perfs…………………….at philatelic exhibitions these varieties are exhibited by collectors. Now it is high time to give a serious thought and as true Indian we should approach appropriate authorities in India Post and Security printers to do the needful.”


Ilyas Patel -  Ahmadabad

“It is neither an acceptable nor a palatable point for India Post. First; whether India Post is ready to listen to such issues? Second; is there any responsible person in DOP to listen to this and attend seriously? Third; who is responsible for this?...................... Whatever points raised to India Post, they don't care to even reply. Then what is the meaning for all these discussions?..................I personally feel that it is a futile exercise. Prior to this, several issues have been raised in various philatelic journals and columns but in vain…………..Anyways, it is good for philatelists, to learn more with such debate.”