Union home minister Amit Shah, who is also minister of cooperation, on Sunday, announced that the Centre will soon unveil a new comprehensive cooperative policy to widen the reach of cooperatives at the grassroot level and strengthen the cooperative sector.
He also said that the government has decided to amend the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act 2002 to establish an effective regulatory mechanism for multi-state cooperative societies and remove the loopholes in the existing act.
Addressing the annual convocation ceremony at the Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (VAMNICOM) in Pune, he said that the government shall soon computerise the Primary Agriculture Societies (PAC) and link these with the District Central Cooperative Banks that in turn will be linked with State Cooperative Banks and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to establish a seamless and transparent financial system for cooperative banks. Currently there are at least 95,000 PACs in the country out of which 65,000 are active, he said. If all the PACs work in a transparent manner, they will directly benefit farmers and the economy shall get a boost, he said.
Shah said there are several government schemes in 23 different departments for various sectors like fisheries, micro irrigation, which will all be brought under the common umbrella of the Cooperation Department. At present, there is a lot of talk about organic farming but there is no proper system for validation because of which farmers do not get the right prices for their produce, he said. The minister said that the government is working to establish a laboratory in the country that will audit land and certify organic products so that farmers get more prices. Amul and others are working on it. This will encourage organic farming, he said. Cooperatives like IFFCO, Amul, Lijjat Papad and KRIBHCO have achieved a milestone in areas like milk and fertilisers, he said, adding that cooperatives have played a stellar role in the development of the nation.
Referring to the role played by VAMNICOM that is presently a grant-in-aid institution under the Union ministry of cooperation, the minister said that the government shall soon establish a university for cooperation with colleges in every state to offer courses for training in cooperatives. He however, did not state if the university will come up in Pune. Earlier, VAMNICON director Hema Yadav urged the minister to grant the institution the status of a university. He urged the students to not to regret their career choices and said that big changes are slated to happen in the cooperative sector. The cooperative sector can empower crores of farmers and the common man, Yadav said.