Thiruvananthapuram

Neethi stores to be funds-starved

Senior CPI (M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurating a dharna organised by employees of cooperative banks in front of the RBI office in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday against demonetisation of high-value currency notes.— Photo: S. Gopakumar

Senior CPI (M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurating a dharna organised by employees of cooperative banks in front of the RBI office in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday against demonetisation of high-value currency notes.— Photo: S. Gopakumar  

Curbs on cooperative sector will affect hospitals, Indian Coffee House chain too

The 1,000-odd Neethi Medical Stores, scores of consumer cooperative outlets, and cooperative hospitals would soon have to bear with the cascading effects of financial transaction curbs imposed on the cooperative banking sector.

As per official estimates, the Neethi stores chain that supplies medicines at concessional rates to the indigent would be the first to bear the brunt of the payment restrictions imposed on cooperative banks. Funds crunch would force the societies to down shutters soon.

Functioning of cooperative hospitals and the Indian Coffee House chain too may be gravely affected. Almost all primary agriculture cooperative societies and employees societies run consumer outlets that provide essentials at affordable prices. Like the Neethi Medical Store network, the consumer cooperatives too are finding it difficult to replenish stock. The marginalised sections that depend on these outlets for their daily needs would be the immediate victims of the closure. Moreover, it would deprive the State of the advantage of market intervention through the outlets to regulate prices of essentials, sources said.

5,000 societies affected

As many as 5,000 cooperative societies that had been active in the State till the imposition of the restrictions have turned dormant. Their financial transactions remain frozen. Cooperative societies have stopped collecting deposits and issuing loans. The curbs are also feared to erode their credibility and also the deposit base worth Rs.1.37 lakh crore. The fate of the scores of employees of the sector and legions of people who rely on the network for their day-to-day needs starting from purchase of essentials and medicines to securing easy financial assistance, have all become uncertain, sources said.

The alleged dithering by the Reserve Bank of India in giving a clear direction on the functioning of the cooperative societies, especially those in the banking sector, has heightened concerns.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 4:11:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/Neethi-stores-to-be-funds-starved/article16644319.ece

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