A Parliamentary panel has suggested changes to an amendment bill to ensure agri-business firms do not misuse funds of National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) in the garb of producer companies.

The NCDC Amendment bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2012, aims to treat producer companies at par with cooperative societies for availing financial help from the NCDC.

The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) advances loans and subsidies to state governments for financing cooperative societies and for employment of staff for implementing programmes of cooperative development.

“The producer companies are propagated as best option for boosting the sagging cooperative sector. Corporate and agri-business houses may corner NCDC funds in the garb of producer,” Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture headed by Basudeb Acharia, which examined the Bill, said in its report.

It recommended that “the NCDC Act 1962 and the rules and guidelines framed there under should be so modified as to ensure that the funds of NCDC do not land into the hands of undeserving because in that eventuality the very purpose of setting up of the corporation will be defeated.”

The panel also suggested that the government make provisions for protecting the interest of marginalised section because formation of a producer company is a voluntary process and no law or mechanism exists at present to safeguard them from negative impact of companies, which are profit driven.

On NCDC funding to non-farm sectors, the committee said, “NCDC should channelise its energy and attention towards farm related portfolio, rather than frittering away their resources for services other than agriculture.”

The panel rapped the government for inordinate delay in bringing amendments to the NCDC Act 1962 saying, “the concept of producer companies was formalised through an amendment in Companies Act, 1956 in 2002, the proposed legislation to amend NCDC Act has been mooted ten years later in 2012.”