Updated: July 11, 2021 7:19:17 pm
NCP president Sharad Pawar asserted Sunday the Centre cannot interfere in the functioning of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Sector and the recently carved out Ministry of Cooperation was about multi-state cooperative institutions.
Under the Constitutional framework, Pawar said, the rules of central and state governments are well demarcated. “A state cannot control a cooperative institution registered in more than one state, which is called multi-state, and the central government has control over it,” the former Union minister said.
A section within the state Congress and NCP ministers in Maharashtra had expressed concerns after the Centre gave charge of the new cooperation ministry to Home Minister Amit Shah. The decision had coincided with state BJP president Chandrakant Patil demanding a Enforcement Directorate probe into a dozen cooperative sugar mills for financial irregularities.
“All the cooperative societies in the state are governed by Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act of 1960 and NABARD guidelines. The Union government’s role is restricted to only multi-state cooperative societies. In 2002, the Multi-state Cooperative Societies Act to regulate the functioning of multi-state cooperatives societies was passed by both the Houses of parliament. Ideally, there are clear demarcations under the constitutional norm,” Pawar said.
Maharashtra has around two lakh cooperative societies with over 50 million members. According to the state’s official data, there are 21,000 primary agriculture credit societies and 31 district cooperative banks. Apart from these, there are sugar cooperative factories, milk cooperatives, power looms, urban and rural non-agri credit societies.
Stating that the Ministry of Cooperation was not a new concept, Pawar said, “I was the Union minister for agriculture for 10 years in the UPA government. The cooperation department was under the agriculture ministry then… Unfortunately, the media is painting a different picture that the Centre’s Ministry of Cooperation may hijack or end the cooperative movement in Maharashtra,” he said.
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