New Delhi : Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation, Amit Shah attended the ‘National Cooperative Conference’ held in New Delhi today as the Chief Guest. On this occasion, many dignitaries associated with cooperatives welcomed the country’s first Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah. The Union Minister of State for Cooperation, B. L. Verma, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (Global), Dr. Ariel Guarko, Secretary, Ministry of Cooperation and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and all co-operatives including India’s leading cooperatives – IFFCO, National Cooperative Federation of India, Amul, Sahakar Bharti, NAFED and KRIBHCO and many other dignitaries of the cooperatives family were also present.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation began his address to more than 2,100 members of the cooperatives family from across the country and about 6 crore people connected in the country and abroad through virtual medium, with a mention of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay’s policy of Antyodaya. Amit Shah said that the vision of welfare of the poor and Antyodaya cannot happen without cooperatives and whenever there was talk of development in the country earlier, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay first talked about Antyodaya and today his birthday is the day to receive inspiration for lakhs and crores of workers.
Amit Shah said that after 75 years of Independence and at a time when the cooperative movement was most needed, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, created the Ministry of Cooperation. He thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of crores of people of the cooperative sector across the nation for forming the Ministry of cooperation. He said it is a matter of pride for him to be the country’s first Cooperation minister. Shah called upon cooperative leaders and workers across the country that now the time of neglect has ended and the time of priority has started and all together shall take cooperatives forward.
Amit Shah said that the cooperative movement will also develop rural society and will also create the concept of a new social capital. He said that there are many interpretations of capital, but we are a people carrying 10,000 years of culture and the idea of social capital will take our cooperativemovement a long way. Shah said that cooperatives have become ingrained in the nature of the people of India and cooperation is in our culture and it is not a borrowed concept, which is why the cooperative movement in India can never become irrelevant.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation said that he has been associated with the cooperative movement for almost 25 years, and cooperativesin the country do not wait for any circular, but when disaster such as floods take place, the village’s PACS (Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies) help and provide food to the affected and also provide shelter. District PAC Sahakari Banks do not worry about their profits or dividends, but are ready to work in the field, be it famine or storm or flood. The cooperative movement has contributed in bringing our country out of many crises. Cooperative is not new to India and from 1904 till today, the cooperative has achieved many new heights, has seen many ups and downs, sometimes it has fallen, sometimes it has recovered, sometimes it has progressed, but its momentum has not stopped and it is a request to all that the momentum should not stop.
In his address, Amit Shah remembered and acknowledged those luminaries who supported the cooperative movement like Madhavrao Godbole, Baikunthbhai Mehta, Tribhuvandas Patel, Vitthalrao Vikhe Patil, Yashwantrao Chavan, Dhananjayrao Gadgil, and Laxmanrao Inamdar.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation said that many people ask him whether the cooperative movement is still relevant today. Describing the positive aspects of the cooperative movement, he mentioned Amul of Gujarat and said that Amul was born out of the vision of SardarPatel.He said that in 1946 the British decided that farmers would have to compulsorily give all their milk to a private company. There was an agitation against this decision in Kheda district and Sardar Patel told Tribhuvanbhai that unless there is a system to sell milk, the movement against the decision cannot be successful and it was from there that Amul started. Under the guidance of Sardar Patel, Tribhuvanbhai Patel registered two primary village milk producer societies in which 80 farmers joined and where is Amul today? In 2020-21, Amul’s group turnover has crossed Rs. 53 thousand crore and 36 lakh farmer families are associated with it, and it has especially empowered women. What the biggest corporate dairy cannot do, our Amul has done. Similarly, referring to Lijjat Papad, Shri Amit Shah said that in 1959, a courageous Gujarati woman named JaswantibenPopat started a cooperative of preparing papads with 80 women, and in 2019 her business was more thanRs.1,600 crore and exports were Rs.80 crore. Today around 45,000 women are associated with Lijjat’s cooperative movement and this success story is an inspiration for women across the country.Today the country’s women have made a huge contribution in the success of Amul and Lijjat. He said that IFFCO has worked to give a new direction to the Green Revolution in the country.A society was formed in 1967 with 57 cooperatives and today it has grown by making more than 36,000 cooperative members and distributes their dividend to about 5.5 crore farmers. He said that if a large company earns money, then the biggest part of it will go to its owner, but whatever IFFCO earns, every penny will go to the 5.5 homes of thousands of farmers and this is called cooperative.Shri Amit Shah praised IFFCO for taking nanotechnology to the ground level. He expressed confidence that in the coming days, due to cooperative institutions, there will be no need to import fertilizers and manure and we will become self-reliant. Similarly, KRIBHCO is also a consortium of 9,500 societies and its share capital is about Rs. 388 croreand KRIBHCO has paid dividend of Rs.2,118 crore to shareholders in one year. He said that this list of success stories is very long who have contributed so much to the economy and development of the country by collecting capital from small people through the cooperative movement and all the profits go to the homes of small investors.
Amit Shah said that much still remains to be done as cooperative can contribute in the field of seeds and there should be no need to import seeds. Calling upon successful cooperatives, Shri Shah said that if expansion is done in each area, then in 5 years there will be no such area where cooperative will not have penetration and this Ministry of Cooperation will strengthen cooperative institutions, bring transparency, modernize and computerize them and create competitive cooperatives. Shah said that just as Jamwant ji made Hanuman jirealize his power, in the same way it is time to remind cooperatives of their strengths. He said that today, there are about 91% villages in the country, where some cooperative organization works, which is not the case anywhere else in the world. There are more than 8,55,000 registered cooperative societies and more than eight and a half lakh credit cooperatives, the number of non-lending cooperatives is more than 60 lakh, there are more than 17 national level cooperative unions, 33 are state level cooperative banks, there are 363 district level cooperative banks. In a way, there is one PACS for every ten villages which is a great achievement and farmer welfare can be done through these PACS. They are transparently doing the work to transfer government money to the accounts of the farmers. These PACS are the medium to make available useful things to the farmers for agriculture and it should be our goal to strengthen these PACS.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation said that 29% of agricultural credit distribution goes through cooperative system, 35% of fertilizer distribution is done by cooperative, about 30% produce manure, 31% of sugar is produced by government cooperative mills, 20% milk is produced and procured, procurement of 13% of wheat, 20 percent of paddy procured by cooperatives and 21% in the fisheries sector. He said that today we have a very strong platform and now the time has come, to set new goals and move forward to achieve them. He said that it is the work of all cooperative workers to build a strong multi-storey building on the platform that our predecessors in the cooperative movement have given us, and that is why the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created the Ministry of Cooperation to give impetus to the cooperative movement.
The Union Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Cooperation said that our success can depend on four things, resolve, clear conscience, hard work and spirit of federalism and if we include these four basic principles in our cooperative, then we can give pace to our movement. The Ministry of Cooperation, which has been created by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, aims at bringing development in rural areas and the Ministry of Cooperation will work continuously to meet the challenge of accessibility to development to every deprived in rural areas. Shri Shah said that the Prime Minister has brought about a huge change in the agriculture sector in seven years and if we talk about budgetary allocation only, then in the year 2009-10, the budget of agriculture was Rs.12000 crore, and in the year 2020-21 this budget was increased to Rs.1,34,499 crores. He said that the agriculture sector is the priority of the Narendra Modi government and it is not possible to achieve goals of the agriculture sector without cooperatives. He said that we have spoken of supporting many farmers. Swaminathan Commission came and since then there is talk that the income of farmers should increase 50% more than the cost but no one used to give. For the first time, the Narendra Modi government has worked to benefit the farmers by fixing MSP more than the cost. Under the Pradhan MantriKisanSammanYojana, Rs.1,58,000 crores was directly transferred to 11 crore farmers of the country through DBT. A new drive to launch startups was launched, 10,000 new FPOs have been created, about Rs 6,865 crore is to be spent separately for financing, e-NAM Mandi scheme has been introduced, soil health card has been given and in all this the cooperative sector and the PACS have played an important role. Shri Amit Shah said that after studying all the things in the PACS, its implementation agency will have to be started at the village level, only then all these things will reach the bottom level.
The Union Cooperation Minister said that many people say that cooperative is a state subject, but the Ministry of Cooperation, under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, will run in cohesion with all the states and it is not in confrontation with anyone and that is why no one needs to think whether it is a state subject or a central issue. We will help all the states, take everyone along and take the movement forward. The work of taking cooperative societies to the grassroots level will be done under the aegis of the Ministry of Cooperation. We will soon bring many changes in the Act to facilitate multi-state cooperatives.
Shri Amit Shah said that in the year 2002, Atal ji had brought the cooperative policy and now in 2021-22, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will bring a new cooperative policy within some time. He said that in the 75th year of independence, in the AmritMahotsav, we will start formulating a new cooperative policy. We will strengthen the PACS as 65,000 PACS is a small number for six lakh villages and a target will be set to have PACS in every second village within the next 5 years and to increase this number from 65,000 to 3 lakhs, the Ministry of Cooperation will prepare a proper legal roadmap. Shri Shah said that this will be an advisory which will be sent to the states. Shri Amit Shah said that it will be ensured that all PACS are computerized in which the Government of India is also going to contribute in a big way. Such a software will also be made which will connect PACS, DCB and NABARD. The Ministry of Cooperation is also working on what can be done to convert PACS into FPO. Shri Shah said that cooperative training will be further intensified. Arrangements will be made for skill development. The role of credit societies will be further strengthened so that even the smallest person can get credit. He said that the Ministry of Cooperation will ensure priority lending by working with all the ministries to enhance the role of cooperative in all priority sector lending. On the lines of Amul, special legal management is needed for self-help groups to work by forming their own societies. Work will be done for fishermen’s cooperative so that even small fishermen can take big things and their profits go directly to their bank accounts. Work will also be done for forest production by forming a tribal cooperative.
Shri Amit Shah said that the Central Government will work with all the states in the field of cooperation. Shri Shah said that transparency has to be brought in training, skill development, recruitment and elections to take the cooperative forward or else we will be outdated. He said that we have to make internal changes and introspection to give impetus to such a big decision taken by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji for the cooperative sector. Shri Shah said that the Ministry of Cooperation is moving forward in the direction of setting up a Common Service Center and creating a database. Also, there is a need to create a National Cooperative Initiative and any cooperative institution should come forward for this. Shri Shah said that today there is a need to set up a National Cooperative University.
Shri Amit Shah said that he is aware of the problems and discriminatory attitude towards Urban Cooperative Banks and want to assure that no injustice will be done to this sector. He said that that is why Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given priority to cooperatives in self-reliant India. He said that we want there should be equitable and all-inclusive development, the model of development should have the power to touch all and the model of development should be able to encompass all, which is not possible without cooperatives and that is why the Ministry of Cooperation has been established.
Shri Amit Shah assured Dr. Ariel Guarko, President, International Co-operative Alliance (Global) that India’s cooperative sector, India’s cooperative movement, can become a platform for sharing good practices across the country. He said that you take the initiative and make the headquarter of any such organization in India which becomes the medium of cooperative good practices and good practices exchange around the world and we are ready to welcome you. Shri Shah said that as desired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi that a new chapter of development should be written in India on the basis of cooperative and we have to make cooperative a culture. He exuded confidence that the important role we play will be remembered by many generations to come.