Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday that population is an asset to the economy as it also linked to the scale of a market.
Mr. Shah claimed that around 60 crore people were brought out of penury by the Narendra Modi government in the past seven years through various schemes, including free ration, and now they aspire to make a decent living.
“Those who know economics believe that population can also be a strength, and people like me believe that population is an asset as it also a market and represents the scale of market. India’s population was 130 crore till 2014 but market was limited to only 70 crore people as the remaining 60 crore did not have purchasing power,” Mr. Shah said at a Cooperation Ministry event.
He said that 60 crore people spent their time in arranging just one square meal a day and could not get over the daily tribulations till the government took care of their basic needs and gave them hope to aspire for a better living.
“Modiji solved their problem in one stroke. He gave them a roof, bank accounts, gas cylinders, clean drinking water, health facilities and free ration. Now these people have aspirations. Now that they have got electricity connection, they want a fan or a cooler. Now that food is taken care of, they wants a scooter to earn a living. PM has made them aspirational and aspirations can only be fulfilled when basic needs are met,” Mr. Shah said.
He said that if 60 crore people had ₹5,000 each in their pocket they could provide fillip to the cooperative movement. “Amul is an example, 20 lakh sisters are running a company which has a turnover of ₹60,000 crore,” he said.
Mr. Shah launched the process through which over 300 cooperatives have been onboarded as buyers on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal to help them purchase goods and services at competitive prices.
In the first phase, all eligible cooperatives, with turnover or deposits of ₹100 crore, will be able to start placing orders on GeM. There are more than 8.5 lakh cooperatives in India.
Among the major cooperatives that were onboarded on Tuesday were IFFCO, KRIBHCO, NAFED, Amul and Saraswat Co-op Bank.
Mr. Shah asked the cooperatives to also register themselves as sellers on the GeM platform as it would provide a huge platform to sell their products to a large pool of government buyers.
The Minister also asked cooperatives to change themselves by bringing transparency in their election process, recruitment and purchasing activities.
The government was taking various steps to bring reform in the cooperative sector, such as framing a new cooperative policy, setting up a university for training purposes and establishing export houses, Mr. Shah said.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the initiative would make trade easy for cooperatives.
National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) president Dileep Sanghani termed it a historic day for cooperatives, saying this would help them in a big way.
The GeM portal has been set up as the national procurement portal to provide an end-to-end online marketplace for the Central and State government Departments and Ministries, PSUs, among others, for common-use goods and services in a transparent and efficient manner.
The platform is open for all government buyers, such as Central Ministries, State Departments, public sector enterprises, autonomous bodies, panchayats and now cooperatives.
According to a Cooperation Ministry statement, to date, about 61,851 government buyers and around 48.75 lakh sellers and service providers are registered on GeM and they have listed more than 45 lakh items in over 10,000 products and 288 service categories.