Co-op meet: Badal blames Centre for non-cooperation

Politically discordant notes marked the inauguration of the National Conference on ‘Revival of Rural Cooperative Credit Structure’ being organised by the Punjab government.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:February 10, 2009 12:01 am

Politically discordant notes marked the inauguration of the National Conference on ‘Revival of Rural Cooperative Credit Structure’ being organised by the Punjab government. While Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal credited the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre for revival of the country’s rural credit structure,Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal slammed both the debt waiver and cooperative credit structure packages of the Centre as “placing premium on inefficiency”.

“The package of Rs 15,700 crore released on the recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee has rewarded states whose cooperative credit structure performed miserably through granting them massive doses of money. The proposed package for long-term cooperative credit structure,too,when implemented,will provide only 1.65 per cent (Rs 79.74 crore) to Punjab out of a package of Rs 4,839 crore. Even the debt waiver scheme of the Centre could provide relief to just two lakh farmers with Punjab getting a meager 0.75 per cent out of the Rs 71,000-crore package. This is the reward Punjab farmers get for contributing immensely to the food security of the country,” he said.

While demanding that the Centre needs to re-look into its policies and programmes relating to agriculture,Badal said he wants to use this opportunity to voice Punjab’s concerns and its feeling of being ignored.

Bansal,who was sharing the dais with him,credited the revival package of the Centre for not only cleansing the balance-sheets of cooperatives,but also revival of the entire rural credit structure by making them “self-sufficient,democratic bodies governed by professionals”.

Hailing the cooperative system as a stable and sustainable model for development,Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh also accused policy-makers at the national-level of ignoring cooperatives due to which benefits have failed to percolate to the ground level. “The traditional mindset at the national level holds that capital economy can usher in faster growth,but the recent meltdown has shown how bastions of investment and banking industry can collapse,forcing nations to commit huge amounts of money to stabilise markets,” he added.

Current economic situation is moral crisis of capitalism: Barberini
Labeling the economic crisis as the moral crisis of capitalism,International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) president Ivano Barberini today said the idea of markets balancing themselves out is not working. Addressing the National Conference on ‘Revival of Rural Cooperative Credit Structure’ here,Barberini said the capitalist system produces more and more poor people and has reopened the debate on free markets and made the concept of cooperatives more relevant than ever. “The creation of financial companies can create imbalances and push economies towards a breaking point,he said,while citing quotes from American President Barack Obama’s speech that a nation cannot prosper for long when it exclusively favours the rich.

On the impact of the debt waiver scheme of the UPA government,K.Sivadassan Nair,chairman,National Federation of Cooperatives,said the waiver has hit recoveries of rural cooperatives and can lead to collapse of the rural credit structure. He asked Punjab to implement its own scheme for waiving loans of non-defaulters to boost credit recovery. “Many states have rewarded farmers who have paid back loans despite being in distress and Punjab also should do so to,” he said.

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