Make headway in the educational sector
Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran told the Assembly on Thursday that the cooperative sector was willing to fund major infrastructure projects in the State.
Replying to the debate on the demand for grants for Cooperation, the Minister said that projects such as Kochi Metro Rail, Vizhinjam International Transhipment Terminal and Kannur airport could be financed within the confines of the rules governing cooperatives.
Mr. Sudhakaran said the cooperative sector would be contributing Rs.500 crore for the M.N. Housing Scheme. It had already advanced Rs.500 crore for the EMS Housing Scheme. The sector had already made much headway in developing cooperative educational institutions. About 16,000 of the 40,000 seats for professional courses in the State were now in the cooperative sector. Two cooperatives were being formed for promotion of film sector.
The Minister said that pension for retired employees of cooperatives would be increased from Rs.500 to Rs.600 a month. The family pension would be hiked from Rs.400 to Rs.500 a month. Besides, festival allowance would be increased from Rs.550 to Rs.650 and medical allowance would be doubled. The government was also planning to give family pension with retrospective effect for the benefit of families of those who had died before the introduction of the pension scheme. He said that one per cent reduction in interest would be given to those remitting loans from the cooperatives without any default. The sector had provided remission of interest to various sectors. An amount of Rs.115.5 crore due from the fisheries sector was not being collected. Kudumbasree units would be given loan at 9 per cent interest and Rs.1,000 crore had been set apart for this. A State level consortium of apex cooperatives such as Marketfed and Consumerfed would be formed to strengthen procurement and marketing activities in the cooperative sector. He said that the capital of cooperatives had increased by Rs.2,000 crore over the past four years. An increase of Rs.500 crore was likely this year. The sector was targeting a deposit mobilisation of Rs.75,000 crore this year. The credit deposit ratio was proposed to be increased from 90 to 95 per cent. A bonus royalty of Rs.100 would be given to writers who had been publishing through the Sahityapravarthaka Sahakarana Sanghom during the past 25 years, as the finances of the cooperative had improved.
He said the NABARD was sitting on refinance for lending to the agriculture sector. It had also not provided the report sought by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Kerala's objections to certain recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee on cooperatives' revival and reforms. The State was willing to sign an agreement with the Centre for receiving a Rs.60 crore assistance under its recommendations if the Centre allowed cooperatives in the State to continue to provide banking services, including cheque facility.
Later, the House passed the demand for Rs.123.78 crore.