Home Minister and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah today said the Government will soon announce a new Cooperative policy that will boost the country’s rural economy.
Addressing the first National Cooperative Conference, Shah said the Centre will work closely with States to strengthen the cooperative movement. About 91 per cent of Indian villages have small or big cooperative institutions.
Shah, who is also the Union Home Minister, announced that the number of primary agriculture cooperatives (PACs) will be increased to three lakh in the next five years. At present, there are about 65,000 PACs.
He said the objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in setting up the Cooperation Ministry is to make development accessible to rural areas, particularly the most deprived among them. The Ministry of Cooperation was announced in the Union Budget in 2021.
Addressing the gathering comprising over 2,100 representatives of different cooperatives and nearly six crore online participants, Shah said some people wonder why the Centre created this new Ministry as the cooperatives are a State subject.
Shah said there could be a legal response to it, but he does not want to “get into this argument.” The Centre, he stressed, will cooperate with states and “there will be no friction”.
He said, “We will work with all states to take forward the cooperative movement.” The Ministry of Cooperation has been formed to strengthen and modernise the sector.
Shah, who is also the Union Home Minister said the “Cooperation (Ministry) can make a very important contribution to the country’s development. We will have to think afresh, outline afresh, expand the scope of work, and bring transparency.”
The cooperatives can contribute a lot in the development of the country and will play a crucial part in making India a US $ 5 trillion economy.
Referring to the problems being faced by cooperatives on taxation and other issues, Shah said he was aware of the concerns and assured that there would be no injustice towards them.
The conference was organized by India’s leading cooperative organization IFFCO, National Cooperative Federation of India, Amul, Sahakar Bharti, NAFED, KRIBHCO and all cooperatives together. The President of International Cooperative Alliance (Global), Dr Ariel Guarco, was also present.