The Union Ministries of Cooperation and Electronics and Information Technology, along with NABARD and the CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) to provide diverse services which are at present offered by Common Service Centres (CSE).
Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah and Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnalav were present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Home Minister said the PACS are the soul of cooperatives and making them multipurpose as providers of about 20 services will increase employment opportunities in rural areas.
He said that the role and contribution of PACS in rural and agricultural development is very important. Describing the agreement as a win-win situation for all, he said that this will not only help in fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of ‘Sahkar Se Samridhi’ and making cooperatives the backbone of rural development, but will also strengthen both cooperatives and farmers.
Mr Shah said that this will help in advancing the concept of Common Service Centres (CSC) to the smallest unit of the country very easily. About 50 per cent of the country’s population is associated with cooperatives in one way or the other and keeping in view the development of such a large sector, the Prime Minister had taken a historic decision to create a separate Ministry of Cooperation, he said.
He said that making PACS viable was the biggest problem in front of the cooperative sector, and today a new beginning has been made by adding many new dimensions to the functioning of PACS. Mr Shah added that PACS will now be able to undertake 20 different activities including water distribution, storage, Bank Mitra. He said that the first and foremost task is to make the services provided by the Common Service Centres available to the rural population through PACS.
The Union Home and Cooperation Minister said that in this year’s Budget, many important announcements have been made for the cooperative sector. A provision has been made to make two lakh PACS in the next five years and create a multi-purpose PACS in every Panchayat.
Apart from this, the foundation of the world’s largest grain storage scheme has also been laid in the budget for the cooperative sector.He said that creation of a national database for the cooperative sector is 70 percent completed. Apart from this, model bye-laws have been prepared and sent to all the states after discussing with all the stakeholders.
With today’s initiative PACS will be able to provide all the services listed on the Digital Seva Portal of CSC scheme to citizens, including banking, insurance, Aadhaar enrolment/update, legal services, agri-inputs like farm equipment, PAN card , IRCTC, Rail, Bus, and Air ticket related services, etc. The Home Minister said that the national software being developed under the ongoing Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of PACS computerization will also be used for PACS to function as CSCs, which will be a big achievement.