CCEA approved the computerization of 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies. Computerization will make things clearer and connect all credit unions to a single accounting system.
Wednesday, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a plan to turn around 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies into digital files (PACS).
Amit Shah, the Union Minister of Home and Cooperation, said that PACS are the smallest unit in the cooperative sector and that making them computerized will help the sector.
Also Read | With ₹2,000-3000Cr budget, Centre to Modernize, Digitalize 97,000 PACs.
Mr. Shah said that the PACS will be made digital, which will cost 2,516 crores and help about 13 crore small and marginal farmers. Each PACS will get about 4 lakh to improve its capabilities. Old accounting records will also be digitized and linked to software that runs in the cloud.
‘In this digital age, the decision to computerize PACS will make them more open, reliable, and effective. It will also make it easier to keep track of the money for multipurpose PACS,’ said Mr. Shah.
The Minister said that the software will be made available in the people’s native languages. ‘It will also help PACS become a hub for services like Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), Interest Subvention Scheme (ISS), Crop Insurance Scheme (PMFBY), and inputs like fertilizers and seeds,’ he said.
A government statement said that PACS are responsible for 41% (3.01 crore farmers) of all Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans in the country and that 95% (2.95 crore farmers) of these KCC loans are given to small and marginal farmers through PACS. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has already automated the State Cooperative Banks (StCB) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCB) and put them on the Common Banking Software (CBS).
The statement went on to say, ‘However, most PACS have not been computerized yet and are still run by hand, which leads to inefficiency and a lack of trust.’ In some states, PACS have been computerized both on their own and in parts. They don’t use the same software, and they aren’t connected to the DCCBs and StCBs.
A senior government official said that the move would help create about 10 jobs in each center and that the goal was to increase the number of PACs to up to 3 lakh in the next five years.
The official said that the public will soon be able to see the changes that will be made to the model bylaws that will govern the PACS. ‘We’ve started talking with the States. Except for Kerala and West Bengal, most States are on board. Even though it is a State issue, we will change the bylaws, and the States that don’t want to go along will have to because the credit societies want to change,’ the official said.
The official also said that all of India should have the same rules for credit societies. A meeting of all the countries’ Cooperation Ministers is also in the works, the official said.
Also Read | Govt preparing model by-laws to govern 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS).
In many states, opposition parties like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress run cash-rich cooperatives. In parts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal, political decisions are made by cooperatives.
The Multi-State Cooperative Societies Amendment Act, 2002, will also be changed soon. The government also wants to set up a National Cooperative University, and an official said that about 12 states have shown interest.