Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced a target for 2.25 lakh Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) registrations. “Currently, there are 65,000 active PACS. We have decided to establish 3 lakh PACS in the next 5 years and have set a target for 2.25 lakh registrations. Adopt the by-laws quick and work towards reviving PACS,” Shah said at the inaugural session of the two-day National Conference of State Cooperative Ministers in Delhi.
He put forth the focus areas of the policy and said that the defunct PACS should be liquidised as soon as possible so that new PACS could be built. “The policy’s focus area will be – free registration, computerization, democratic elections, ensuring active membership, professionalism in leadership and transparency, being responsible and answerable… all discussions done with stakeholders,” he said.
He further added that in order to acquire trained manpower needed in different cooperatives, the ministry has decided to build a cooperative university and its affiliated colleges in all the states of the country. At the national conference, the minister also said that a committee in which every state will have a representation is also constituted to draft the national cooperative policy for holistic development.
“A Committee was constituted to draft national cooperative policy for holistic development; every state will have representation in it. Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu will head the committee,” he said. In the address, Shah had also appealed to the government of all the states and union territories to take forward the cooperative movement with the spirit of team India.
The existing National Policy on Cooperatives was formulated in 2002 with the objectives of facilitating the all-round development of cooperatives and providing necessary support, encouragement and assistance to them, so as to ensure that cooperatives work as autonomous, self-reliant and democratically managed institutions accountable to their members and make a significant contribution to the national economy. The conference will provide a platform to formulate an implementable policy and planning framework through discussion and coordination among participants, on important themes, covering not only the whole life cycle of cooperatives but also touching on all facets of their business and governance, a senior official said.
The conference will cover policy matters like National Cooperation Policy and National Cooperative Database as well as newly proposed schemes like PACS in every Panchayat, export of agro-based and other products, promotion and marketing of organic products, and expansion of co-operatives to new areas.