Glimpse of New National Cooperative Policy – UPSC Insights

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Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has recently announced the formation of a National Committee to prepare the draft of National Cooperative Policy. It is to be noted that the Union Home and Cooperation Minister had recently announced that a new National Cooperative Policy would be prepared soon to create a holistic approach for cooperatives.

Govt has made 47 member panel under the chairmanship of former Union Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu. In this panel participants would be  – Cooperative sector experts; Representatives of National/State/District and Primary Co-operative Societies; Secretaries (Cooperatives) of the States/Union Territories and Registrars of Co-operative Societies and officers of Central Ministries/Departments.

Current National Cooperative Policy

The present National Cooperative Policy was implemented in the year 2002 with the objective of providing all round development of cooperatives and providing necessary support, encouragement and assistance to them so as to ensure that cooperatives socities are an autonomous, self-reliant and democratically managed society. 

Definition of cooperative

Co-operative is the work done by many individuals or organizations together for the attainment of a common objective. Article 243 of Part 9 (b) of the Constitution of India provides for the conditions for the implementation of cooperative societies.

Co-operative societies are voluntary organizations of such individuals, who work for their economic interests. All its members collect their resources and make maximum use of them and get some benefit, which they share among themselves. The control of co-operative society is done in a democratic way and there is no role of intermediaries.

Types of Co-operative Societies

Co-operative society type

There are many types of cooperative societies such as – Consumer Cooperative Society, Producer Cooperative Society, Credit Cooperative Society, Housing Cooperative Society and Marketing Cooperative Society).

Importance of Co-operative Sector

  1. Co-operative institutions have played a very significant role to make the people belong to the rural areas aware of the benefits of government schemes.
  2. There are about 8,55,000 cooperative societies in India and about 13 crore people are directly associated with them.
  3. There are 91% villages in the country in which there is some co-operative society.
  4. There are 86% small farmers in the country, who cannot invest in farming themselves; cooperatives play an important role in developing facilities like cold storage for them.
  5. The Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) scheme has also been started by the Central Government with a corpus of 6,850 crores. In this, FPOs can take loans up to 2 crores, on which interest subsidy will also be provided to them. The role of cooperatives will be important in its implementation.
  6. The Central Government has decided to computerize 65,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) of the country, which will make PACS, District Co-operative Banks, State Co-operative Banks and NABARD online, which will bring transparency in the system.
  7. Under the changes in the Union Council of Ministers, a new ministry has been formed, which is named – “Ministry of Cooperation”.
  8. This ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework to strengthen the cooperative movement in the country.
  9. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also been given the charge of this new ministry. 

Today there are about 8.5 lakh cooperative societies in India which are spread across India with about 29 crore members. These cooperatives are active in various and diverse activities including agro-processing, dairy, fisheries, housing, weaving, credit and marketing.

My opinion – for mains

Co-operative societies are considered to be a major contributor to the Indian economy. The new National Cooperative Policy Document is being prepared with a view to fulfill the mandate given to the Ministry of Cooperation, inter alia, to realize the vision of ‘Sahakar se Prosperity’; Strengthening the cooperative movement in the country and deepening its reach at the grassroots level; promoting a cooperative based economic development model; This includes creating an appropriate policy, legal and institutional framework to help cooperatives realize their potential. The new policy will strengthen the cooperative movement in the country.

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