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Revamp laws governing cooperative sector in view of the changed techno-economic scenario: Vice President

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Address challenges such as politicization of cooperatives & bureaucratic control of cooperatives;

Take steps to make agriculture viable;

Cooperative sector must play key role in strengthening rural economy;

Delivers Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial Lecture on Cooperatives

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for a revamp of laws governing cooperative sector in the context of changed techno-economic so that it becomes viable and vibrant enterprise. He was delivering the Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial Lecture on Cooperatives, organized by Sahakar Bharati, in Mumbai, today. The Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Ch. Vidya Sagar Rao, the Minister for Higher and Technical Education of Maharashtra, Shri. Vinod Tawde and other dignitaries were present on the occasion

The Vice President said that lack of awareness, vagaries of monsoon, lack of access to market and storage facilities is making agriculture un-viable there by forcing people to migrate from rural areas to urban areas.

The Vice President called up on the cooperative sector to play key role in strengthening rural economy and also help the farmers raise their income. To achieve this, he asked Research institutions and government agencies to support Cooperatives in their efforts to educate farmers and encourage them diversify into allied vocations like horticulture, fishery, bee-keeping, rural logistics and transportation, food processing etc to generate additional income.

The Vice President also asked for an increased focus and attention of authorities, politicians, media, and scientists to make united efforts to improve the lives of people dependent of farming and Agriculture.

Shri Naidu said that Cooperatives can help in reducing the cost of production by sensitizing farmers about judicious use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, by encouraging and training farmers in the use of organic manure and efficient use of water and by collective procurement of capital-intensive equipments and inputs.

The Vice President said that even though India became self-sufficient in food grain production, agriculture sector suffers from structural constraints. He called up on Cooperative societies to become important conduit between Government and the farmers to deliver the benefits of government schemes, such Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, Krishi Sinchayi Yojna, Jan Dhan, e-NAM, MUDRA Yojna, Minimum Support Price and others to farmers.

The Vice President sought for coordinated efforts of Cooperatives, Agriculture Research Institutions, Kisan Vikas Kendras and farmers’ groups in line with government’s resolve to double the farmer’s income by 2022.

The Vice President said that Indian cooperative movement has a great history and has made tremendous progress in several sectors of the Indian economy and said that with a network of over 8.50 lakh cooperatives with membership of well over 25 crores have operations across the spectrum made it the biggest in the world. He, however, added that the cooperative sector was facing structural challenges in recent past and stressed the need to address challenges faced by the sector such as politicization of cooperatives and bureaucratic control, low level of participation by women and youth.

Shri Naidu said that Cooperative sector has proven to be a successful model world over and countries like Singapore, Denmark, Scandinavian countries, Japan and Switzerland have seen success.  He has also stressed the need to learn from best practices and see if we can adopt some best practices in fields such as healthcare, retail, Food Production and others.

Quoting the reach of the sector in different countries, the Vice President said that 55 per cent of the retail market in Singapore and 36 per cent in Denmark were being held by cooperatives. He further said that Consumer cooperatives have prominent presence in Scandinavian countries, Japan and Switzerland and countries like Japan, Germany, France and Netherlands, provide affordable health care to common people based on cooperative model. We must learn from them and try to emulate such models here in India for the betterment of common man, he added.

Following is the text of Vice President’s Lecture:

“लक्ष्मण राव जी ईनामदार की जन्म शताब्दी के उपलक्ष्य में सहकार भारती द्वारा आयोजित इस व्याख्यान के माध्यमसे इस गंभीर विषय पर आपसे अपने विचार साझा कर सकूंगा। आपके सप्रेम निमंत्रण के लिए आपका आभारी हूं।

वकील साहब का जन्म महाराष्ट्र के ही सतारा जिले में,21 सितंबर, 1917 को ऋषि पंचमी के दिन हुआ था। वे आजन्मऋषि रूप में ही समाज सेवा करते रहे। सहकार और सौहार्द की पहली शिक्षा उन्हें अपने संयुक्त परिवार में ही मिली।परिवार के संस्कारों और संघ के प्रचारक के रूप में उनकेअनुभवों ने उन्हें सहकारिता की आवश्यकता को लेकर आश्वस्तकिया। कालान्तर में उन्होंने सहकार भारती जैसा रचनात्मक सहकारिता आंदोलन खड़ा किया जो आज देश के लगभग450 जिलों में फैला है तथा विभिन्न क्षेत्रों की लगभग 20,000 सहकारी समितियाँ सहकार भारती से संबंद्ध हैं।

उनके जन्म शताब्दी वर्ष में सहकार भारती द्वारा आयोजित व्याख्यानमाला का शुभारंभ गतवर्ष प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्रमोदी द्वारा ही किया गया। गुजरात में संघ प्रचारक के रूप में उन्होंने ही युवा नरेन्द्र मोदी की क्षमताओं को पहचाना औरउन्हें विकसित किया। सामाजिक और राजनैतिक सरोकारों में प्रासंगिक बनाया।

मित्रों,

सहकार प्रकृति का नियम है, सहकार हमारा पारिवारिक, सामुदायिक संस्कार है। इसीलिए सहकारिता पर आधारितअर्थतंत्र अधिक न्यायपूर्ण, सात्विक, स्थाई और पर्यावरणीय दृष्टि से अधिक नैतिक होगा। जैसा कि दीनदयालउपाध्याय जी ने कहा कि यदि हम अपनी प्रकृति, अपने संस्कारों को अपने सामाजिक सरोकारों और उत्तरदायित्वों सेजोड़ दे तो यही ‘संस्कृति’ है और यदि हम अपनी प्रकृति को सामाजिक द्वंद्व या स्पर्धा की तरफ मोड़ दें तो वह ‘विकृति’है। Share and Care की हमारी भारतीय संस्कृति परंपरा में सहकार की भावना अंतर्निहित है।

मित्रों,

यद्यपि अर्थशास्त्र में बाजार की अर्थव्यवस्था में Competition (स्पर्धापर बल दिया जाता है, तथापि एक स्तर के बाद, स्पर्धा उस उद्योग और अर्थव्यवस्था को हानि पहुचाने लगती है। इसीलिए अर्थव्यवस्था में पूर्ण स्पर्धा की अवधारणा, एक मरीचिका मात्र है। अतअर्थव्यवस्था में Competition का scope तो सीमित है – सहकार के अवसर असीमित हैं।

India’s cooperative movement is the biggest movement in the world and has made tremendous progress in several sectors of the Indian economy. I am told that 75 percent of rural households have been covered through a network of over 8.50 lakh cooperatives with membership of well over 25 crores.

Thecooperatives command significant share in cotton, fertilizer and sugar processing and production in the country.

The iconic success of Amul has inspired the White Revolution in India with the country becoming the top milk producer in the world today.

Friends,

In recent years, however, the cooperative sector has faced structural challenges like dormant membership, lack of active participation of members in the management of cooperatives, politicization of cooperatives and bureaucratic control. Similarly, low level of participation by women and youth is a challenge and needs to be addressed.

Mounting dues in cooperative credit institutions, inadequate mobilization of own resources, over dependence on Governmental and institutional support, lack of professional management have proved harmful to their growth. There have been instances of mismanagement and absence of monitoring.

Probably the time has come to bring the requisite changes in the relevant laws governing cooperative sector in the context of changed techno-economic and business scenario to make the cooperatives viable and vibrant enterprises.

Friends,

Today we are self-sufficient in foodgrain production. Rather, we are faced with the crisis of abundance. Yet, our agriculture sector suffers from structural constraints. At present 85% agricultural land holdings are small, measuring less than 2 hectares. Only 5.2% agricultural families own tractors. Drip irrigation is available to only 1.6% agriculture households.

The Government has resolved to double the farmer’s income by 2022. For which a number of interventions are necessary.

The Government has raised the Minimum Support Price for most of the crops. Cooperatives can help small and marginal farmers in realizing the benefit of higher MSP.

The Cooperatives can help in reducing the cost of production by sensitizing farmers about judicious use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, by encouraging and training farmers in the use of organic manure and efficient use of water and by collective procurement of capital-intensive equipments and inputs.

Friends,

The Government has launched several progressive programmes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna, Krishi Sinchayi Yojna, Jan Dhan and MUDRA Yojna.  The benefits of these schemes must reach farmers. Cooperative societies should become important conduit between Government and the farmers to deliver the benefits of these schemes.

This year, the Government has allocated Rs 2000 crores for upgrading and building new rural markets/mandis. Your active cooperation in this scheme is essential.

The Government of India has given a substantial budgetary support to computerize more than 63000 Primary Agriculture Cooperatives (PACs). Strengthening the PACs through application of appropriate technology is the need of the hour. Cooperative should train farmers to use e-marketing platform E-NAM, to access a wider market for their produce.

In our country the rural economy is still largely dependent upon agriculture.  Cooperatives, with the assistance from research institutions and government agencies, can educate and train farmers to diversify into allied vocations like horticulture, fishery, Bee-keeping, rural logistics and transportation, food processing etc.  which is essential to raise the income of farmers.

Friends,

The Cooperative sector remains a vibrant and viable business model in the world. Worldwide, the Cooperative sector has about one billion members in over 100 countries. There are some 52,000 Cooperative Banks and Credit Unions, serving 177 million members in 100 Countries. It is estimated that cooperatives account for more than 100 million jobs around the world. We must learn from the new experiments taking place around the world in the cooperative sector.

Even in the service sector, the Cooperative model has been successfully adopted.55 per cent of the retail market in Singapore and 36 per cent in Denmark is held by cooperatives. Consumer cooperatives have prominent presence in Scandinavian countries, Japan and Switzerland.

Countries like Japan, Germany, France and Netherlands, provide affordable health care to common people based on cooperative model.

Similarly, in countries like US and Bangladesh, Electricity Cooperatives have been successful in making rural electrificationa viable enterprise. We must learn from their experiences and see if we can adopt some best practices in our own national context.

In India, the Government is promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in every field. There is immense scope of innovation in cooperative sector especially in rural and agro-economy cooperatives.You can bring about the long-awaited disruptive innovation with the help of research and linkage with professional institutions.

मित्रों,

सहकारिता केक्षेत्र में सबसे बड़ी चुनौती प्रबंधन की रही है। आवश्यक है कि सहकार भारती जैसी संस्थाऐं सहकारितासमितियों में प्रबंधन प्रशिक्षण पर भी ध्यान दें। सहकारिता को सर्वस्वीकार्य जनआंदोलन बनाने में सहकार भारती जैसीसंस्थाओं की महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका होगी। आपके भावी प्रयास सफल हों – मेरी शुभकामना है।

मैं अपने वक्तव्य का अंत तैतरीय उपनिषद के शांति मंत्र से करूंगा:

“सह नाववतु, सहनौ भुनक्तु

सहवीर्यम करवावहै, तेजस्वी नावधीमस्तु

मा विद्विषावहै”

ऊँ शांतिशांतिशांति:

‘हम सभी संरक्षित रहें, हम सभी को आहार प्राप्त हो, हम सभी ऊर्जा के साथ अपने कर्म करें, हम सभी को ज्ञान प्राप्त हो– हमारे बीच कोई द्वेष  हो।

धन्यवाद, जय हिंद।

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