Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Saturday pointed out that “there is no database” for the cooperative sector of the country despite the sector completing several decades of its journey. “There is no cooperative database. We cannot think of expansion until there is a cooperative database,” Shah made the remarks while addressing national conference of Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) organised here with an aim to prepare a roadmap for the revival of the sector.
Shah said “neither do we have the database of cooperative societies of fishermen, nor do we have the database of cooperatives working in irrigation sector”. Even, the Minister said, there is also “no database of how many villages are deprived of the benefit of Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS)”.
“We have started the work of creating the database. It will be of great benefit as I think. Expansion can happen only if you know where to expand. If you don’t know where to do expansion, then expansion can’t happen,” Shah announced. This basic work has also been started by the Ministry of Cooperation, said the Minister, adding model bye-laws of PACS have been sent.
He also requested all the members of the cooperative sectors to send their suggestions and practical experiences for model bye-laws of PACS, saying “we want to make PACS multidimensional.” Shah also sought support of ARDBs to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling farmers’ income.
“Without support of Agricultural Rural Development Banks (ARDBs), we cannot fulfill the vision of PM Modi of doubling the farmers income,” Shah said. The Minister further stressed on the need for expansion of long term finance for development of agriculture sector.
He said that ARDBs should also expand their jurisdiction besides only doing financing to achieve the aim of agriculture development. Informing about the role of ARDBs, Shah said over 3 lakh tractors have been financed by these banks and 5.2 lakh farmers have been given long term finance.
Noting that several ARDBs have done various reforms, the Cooperation Minister emphasised on the need for development of this sector for the development of cooperatives. He focussed that “long term finance should be more than that of short term finance for the development”.
“I believe that there are hurdles but unless we increase long-term finance, agricultural development, as per the vision of PM Modi, is impossible. It just can’t happen,” said Shah. He also said that cooperative sector cannot be expanded by any government until it expands itself. “Cooperative will play a very big role in fulfilling PM Modi’s 5 trillion economy vision.”
Speaking at the event, Minister of State for Cooperation BL Verma stressed on the need to for modernisation of ARDBs and increasing of its financial condition. The National Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks’ Federation Ltd (NAFCARD) organized the conference of ARDBs-2022.
The technical session of the day-long conference is to “deliberate on the roadmap for revival of ARDBs and finalize recommendations for submitting them to the government”. Ministry of Cooperation Secretary Gyanesh Kumar, NCUI President and IFFCO Chairman Dileep Sanghani, President, International Cooperative Alliance- Asia-Pacific Region and Chairman, KRIBHCO Dr. Chandra Pal Singh Yadav also attended the conference.
The conference was also attended by representatives of Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks at state and primary levels across the country and representatives from the government, NABARD and other National Federations. National Cooperative Agriculture and Banks Federation based in Mumbai is an apex body of state cooperative agriculture and rural development banks in the country.
This conference culminates the sectoral programmes of ARDBs including public contact programme at ground level as part of celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. The federation also held an award function on the occasion to felicitate SCARDBs in Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat and West Bengal for outstanding performance in lending, recovery and improvement in other parameters of performance during 2020-21.
Awards were also presented to the four oldest ARDBs in the country for ceaseless service to the rural sector for more than 90 years. In order to give proper impetus to the cooperative sector under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Government had created the Ministry of Cooperation in July 2021. Amit Shah was given the charge of the newly formed Ministry of Cooperation.
There is immense potential for development and empowerment of farmers, agriculture and rural areas of the country in the cooperative sector. That is why under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union government is empowering the cooperative sector with the mantra of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi’.