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Major role for cooperative sector, says Minister

Staff Reporter
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Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran has said the cooperative sector all over the world is facing severe challenges from capitalism, and India is no exception, for the country's cooperative sector is encountering strong challenges from globalisation.

Mr. Ratnakaran was inaugurating the State-level valedictory function of the National Cooperative Week celebrations here on Saturday.

In spite of the grave situation, more than 70 crore people across the world were linked to the cooperative sector and out of them 22 crore were in India with Kerala accounting for a sizable share, he pointed out.

The cooperative movement should remain as an institution making big interventions for the common man, especially in the farming and traditional sectors. The movement had to enter more and more sectors. In a situation where there were some scientific predictions that the world was poised to face a famine by 2020, the cooperative sector had significant roles to play in the field of food security.

But the important aspect was that the cooperative movement had to always cooperate with the poor of the country. Kerala's cooperative sector had a tradition of protecting the farm sector, Mr. Ratnakaran said.

Negligible role

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘micro finance and the cooperative sector,' Congress leader G. Karthikeyan said the cooperative sector was playing only a negligible role in the field while nationalised and scheduled banks were in the forefront. He said the Union government viewed micro financing as an important factor for poverty eradication.

Mr. Karthikeyan said the kind of political intervention taking place in the cooperative sector was not a healthy trend. But such intervention seemed to be deep-rooted in the sector. He expressed strong reservations against political interventions that dissolved democratically elected director boards for political reasons.

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