National Cooperation Policy National

Amit Shah moots poll body for cooperatives across country 

Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah speaks at the inauguration of a two-day ‘National Conference on Cooperation Policy’ in New Delhi on April 12, 2022.

Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah speaks at the inauguration of a two-day ‘National Conference on Cooperation Policy’ in New Delhi on April 12, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday that elections in cooperatives should be held in a democratic and transparent manner and suggested that a body on the lines of the Election Commission of India to conduct the polls.

Mr. Shah, who is in charge of the newly created Ministry of Cooperation, said many agriculture cooperative societies were not registered due to political reasons and there should be transparency in administration. Mr. Shah inaugurated the two-day national conference on National Cooperation Policy on Tuesday.

Model bylaws

The Union government is all set to bring in model by-laws to govern around 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) across the country and is also formulating a national level policy for cooperatives that is likely to be finalised by the end of this year.

The Minister stressed that the defunct PACS should either be revived or taken for liquidation process. “Corporates and industries may bring development in the country, but cooperative is the only model that can help in the equitable distribution of profit to 80 crore economically backward people in the country. We have seen this happen; cooperative movements such as Lijjat and Amul are examples of this,” Mr. Shah said.

The cooperatives are a source of political power in many States such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and some of these cash rich cooperatives are controlled by Opposition parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party, CPI(M) and the Congress. Out of a total 8.5 lakh cooperatives in India, around 1.77 lakh units are credit cooperatives and the remaining 6.8 lakh are non-credit units.

Allaying apprehensions, the Minster said the Centre does not intend to interfere in the functioning of State cooperatives, but it will endeavour to bring uniformity in State laws through dialogue and coordination.

Policy revamp

The issues such as the present legal framework of cooperatives, identification of regulatory policies, operational barriers, reforms for strengthening governance, making cooperatives vibrant economic entities, training and education promoting new cooperatives including social cooperatives, revitalising defunct ones — are some of the topics which will be discussed in the two-day conference.

Mr. Shah said the framework governing the cooperatives was several decades old and it was time that the policy be revamped. He said that the Ministry’s portal will soon have a window for people across the country to send their suggestions on how to revamp the cooperative policy.

D.K. Singh, Secretary, Cooperation Ministry said each cooperative should have its own website and place its balance sheet on the portal to encourage transparency and accountability.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2022 7:26:27 am |