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India lacks proper data on cooperatives: ILO official

Esim was speaking at the national workshop on strengthening women’s co-operatives organised by SEWA co-operative federation, SEWA Bharat (SEWA’s national federation), International Cooperative Alliance and ILO in Ahmedabad Friday.

SEWA Cooperatives’ members (Souce: ILO website)

India doesn’t have proper data on co-operatives operational in the country and their financial details, said Simel Esim, the unit head of co-operatives enterprises department, International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Esim was speaking at the national workshop on strengthening women’s co-operatives organised by SEWA co-operative federation, SEWA Bharat (SEWA’s national federation), International Cooperative Alliance and ILO in Ahmedabad Friday.

“There is a lack of statistical data in the country. There are different agencies like the registrar office and the National Cooperative Development Corporation, but there is no information on neither the finances nor the number of co-operatives active. We need to have some standards and guidelines,” she said.

“Around the world there are countries establishing social and solidarity economic policies. But in the areas where public and private sectors are not doing a good job in carrying out economic and social activities should be given incentives so that those at the bottom tier get a chance to have a fair return,” Esim said while speaking with The Indian Express on what kind of policy one should adopt to encourage the growth of co-operatives.

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“One example is the public procurement policies that have a percentage allocated for co-operatives and social economic businesses. So, if you have school lunch programme, you give a woman cooperative or catering cooperative a chance, give priority or some facilitators like huge initial payment waiver. European Union does this, many countries in the world do this. Some states in India like Kerela does this. This can be adopted everywhere,” she said.

The two-day national workshop that concluded Friday had 42 grassroots women leaders of 21 cooperatives from 12 states. Two participants from Iran’s Rah-e-Roshd Cooperative also took part. Mirai Chatterjee, chairperson, SEWA Cooperative Federation, said, “Of over 8 lakh cooperatives in India, less than 1 per cent are run by women. This is the reflection and result of the patriarchal society. We need to change this by advocating for an enabling policy environment that will encourage women to form co-operatives in all parts of the country.”

Mittal Shah, managing director of Gujarat SEWA Cooperative Federation, said that the national-level workshop will be held regionally in the coming months.

First published on: 10-08-2019 at 02:59:09 am
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