Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah addressed the National Conference of Rural Co-operative Banks in New Delhi today

New Delhi : Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah addressed the National Conference of Rural Co-operative Banks in New Delhi today. Shri Amit Shah also presented awards to outstanding State Co-operative Banks, District Central Co-operative Banks and Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). Several dignitaries including the Minister of State for Cooperation, Shri B.L. Verma were present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Amit Shah said national conferences help create a common thrust area between PACS and cooperative banks running on the principle of co-operation in different areas, and the cooperative movement will only expand when everyone’s thrust area will be common. He said many banks, District Cooperative Banks and PACS are working in different ways on the basis of cooperative principle in different sectors. If their thrust area is not common in trying to expand the cooperative sector and also its reach and to increase farmers’ prosperity and that of the agriculture sector and the Nation, then proper results will not be visible.

The Union Minister of Cooperation, said the cooperative movement in India has many achievements to its credit during its almost 120 years old history. He said in some States the cooperative movement has progressed in every field, in some other States the cooperative movement is struggling while in yet in some other States the the cooperative movement has remained only in the books. If the cooperative movement is to develop uniformly and increase its scope, then a different strategy will have to be devised. Shri Shah said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government of India has taken a very important decision by creating the Ministry of Cooperation. He said keeping in mind the cooperative picture of the entire country, the Ministry of Cooperation can do much by taking the States along in the spirit of cooperatives.

Shri Amit Shah said along with strengthening the agriculture credit framework, it also needs to be reformed. There is need to work on taking cooperatives to every sector and agricultural credit should only be available through this. Today Shri Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister and there can be no better time than now to expand the cooperative sector and make it prosperous. Shri Shah said the vision of the Prime Minister is to bring inclusive economic growth by involving the poorest person and the economic development of the poorest person and this can only be undertaken by the cooperative sector.

The Union Home and Cooperation Minister said there are about 8.5 lakh cooperative societies in the country, out of which there are 1.78 lakh different types of credit societies. In the field of agricultural credit, there are 34 state cooperative banks with more than 2,000 branches, 351 district cooperative banks with 14,000 branches and about 95,000 PACS. If we look at all these together, then we can see that those whole built the cooperative sector have left a strong base and there should be a resolve to build a strong structure on this foundation in the year of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Shri Amit Shah said PACS are the soul of the cooperative agricultural credit system and under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, PACS are being made more transparent and empowered by computerization and till this work is not completed, the system of agricultural credit will not work well and along with this it is also very important to increase their scope. There are three lakh panchayats in the country and out of the total 95,000 PACS, 65,000 are functioning well, yet there are about two lakh panchayats where PACS does not exist. The first task of all state and district co-operative banks should be to prepare a five-year strategy of having a PACS in every panchayat. Every district cooperative bank should have a five-year strategy on how PACS can be formed in their areas, in every panchayat and every state cooperative bank should monitor this strategy and NABARD should also confirm this strategy with its various schemes. After the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation, the first plan brought by the Government of India is that PACS should be computerized, and PACS, District and State Cooperative Banks should be linked online. Computerization of PACS will automatically upgrade their human resource, prudential norms of finance will automatically be applied to PACS, audit arrangements will be automatically integrated into the accounting system and alerts will be issued automatically. Computerization can be successful only when District Cooperative Banks take it to the very bottom most level. He said many States have completed computerization, but there is no uniformity. It is very important to bring the agriculture credit system in the country under a common software. He said reforms have to start from within cooperatives and if there is improvement and transparency in their administration, then there will be no injustice done to cooperative banks or PACS.

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