Govt preparing model by-laws to govern 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS)
The Union government is preparing model by-laws to govern the country’s 63,000 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). According to a senior government official, the newly formed Ministry of Cooperation is also developing a national-level policy for cooperatives, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The formation of the Ministry of Cooperation was announced on July 5, 2021, and the portfolio was assigned to Home Minister Amit Shah during the Cabinet expansion.
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Many cash-rich cooperatives are controlled by Opposition parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, and they play an important role in political events in states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal.
According to the official, a plan is in the works to expand the role of cooperatives into the economic and social sectors as well.
‘India’s demographics are shifting. 80% of the urban population will be over 60 years old; their needs are different, and they are currently served by the private sector. In the future, cooperatives may provide such services,’ the official stated.
On April 12 and 13, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will hold a two-day National Conference on Cooperation Policy. Mr. Shah will be the one to open it.
More than two dozen Central Ministries will be represented by Secretaries and Joint Secretaries, as will all State governments and Union Territories by their Chief Secretaries, Additional Chief Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and Registrars of Cooperatives, as well as the heads of around 40 cooperative and other major national institutions.
According to a Ministry statement, the conference will look at the ‘current legal framework, identification of regulatory policy, operational barriers, and measures required to remove them, leading to Ease of Doing Business and providing a level playing field to cooperatives and other economic entities.’
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The conference would cover topics such as how to promote new cooperatives and revitalize existing ones, cooperative cooperation, ways to increase membership, and measures to address the regional imbalance.
‘We have received 54 suggestions from 20 state governments and other stakeholders; they will be incorporated into the new policy that is being developed,’ the official said. He added that the draught of the national cooperative society database was being finalized and that the digitization of PACS would be completed soon.