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Thursday, October 28, 2021

New policy on cooperatives soon… no fight with states: Amit Shah

Sharing plans of his Ministry, Amit Shah also announced that the Centre will soon amend the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002 to facilitate the functioning of the multi-state cooperative societies.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: September 26, 2021 7:06:03 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses the 'National Cooperative Conference' at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Unveiling the roadmap of the new Ministry of Cooperation, Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation Amit Shah on Saturday announced that the government will bring a new cooperative policy during 2021-22.

To allay apprehensions, he said the ministry has been created “not to fight with anyone but to cooperate with all States” and “we will take everyone along” to “take the movement forward”.

Addressing the National Cooperative Conference, Shah said: “We have decided that within a short time, a new cooperative policy will be released. First, Atalji had brought it in 2002, now Modiji will bring it in 2021-22. This is the 75th year of India’s independence. Therefore, as part of the Amrut Mahotsav, we will begin drafting the new cooperative policy.”

The existing National Policy on Cooperatives was brought in March 2002 by the then NDA government.

The National Cooperative Conference, the largest event since the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation in July this year, has been organised by cooperative organisations including IFFCO, National Cooperative Federation of India, Amul, Sahakar Bharati, NAFED and KRIBHCO.

Sharing plans of the ministry, Shah announced that the Centre will soon amend the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act, 2002, to facilitate the functioning of multi-state cooperative societies.

Observing that 65,000 Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) are not sufficient to cater to the needs of 6 lakh villages, he said: “We will set a target to establish a PACS in every second village in the coming five years. To increase the number of PACS from 65,000 to 3 lakh, the Ministry of Cooperation will prepare a proper legal framework that will be advisory in nature. We will send it to the state governments. States can make changes in their laws.”

“The biggest problem is that if a PACS becomes bankrupt, you cannot form a new PACS until you complete the winding-up process of the old. A legal framework is required for this, so that the winding-up process and formation of the new PACS can go side by side,” he said.

The Centre, he said, will ensure that computerisation of all PACS is completed in a short time. He said a software is being developed to integrate PACS, DCBs (District Cooperative Banks) and NABARD.

Underlining the need for skill development in the cooperative sector, Shah said the ministry is preparing an action plan for it.

He said there is a need to strengthen and expand the role of PACS so that even the most marginalised person gets credit.

Citing an example, he said if a person needs Rs 1,000 for Diwali, he or she should get that loan amount.

“We need these types of societies on the ground. A bank cannot do this. Bank kagaz mangenge. Are bhai, iske paas kagaz hota toh hazaar rupiya lene ko kahe ko aata. Kagaz nahin hai (Bank will want documents. If the person has documents, then why will he come for a loan of Rs 1000. He doesn’t have documents),” Shah said.

He said his ministry will work with other ministries to ensure that cooperatives also play an important role in priority sector lending across all sectors. The ministry, he said, is working on a legal framework under which self-help groups (SHGs) can also form their own societies like Amul.

Sahakaarita Common Service Centres are being planned and the ministry is moving forward in the direction of creating a national database.

“We have received requests from four places to establish the National Cooperative University… There is a need to establish a National Cooperative University,” he said.

He also sought to dispel apprehensions regarding the Ministry of Cooperation.

“Many people say this is a State subject. I don’t want to get into the Centre-State fight, a legal answer can be given easily.”

“But I only want to say that the Ministry of Cooperation, formed under the leadership of Modiji, is not there to fight with anyone but to cooperate with all States. Therefore, there is no need to think whether it is a State subject or a Central subject. We can help everyone; we will also help the States; we will take everyone along, and will take the movement forward,” he said.

Asking cooperative organisations to ensure training, skill development and transparency in recruitment and elections, Shah said they cannot progress without this He also asked cooperative organisations to introspect on the internal changes required.

“I am aware of the problems of urban cooperative banks, problems of taxation and discriminatory behaviour of government officials. I am aware of all these things. I want to assure you that no one will be able to do injustice with this sector,” he said.

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