The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a blueprint for strengthening the co-operative movement and deepening its reach. Accordingly, two lakh new Primary Agriculture Credit Societies (PACS) and dairy-fishery co-operatives will be set up in villages and panchayats untapped by co-operatives over the next five years.
At present, there are around 63,000 functional PACS out of nearly 99,000 PACS. There are still 1.6 lakh panchayats without PACS and nearly 2 lakh without a dairy co-operative society.
An official statement said the blueprint aims to implement plan to establish viable PACS, dairy and fishery cooperatives. “ The action plan for implementation of the project shall be prepared by Nabard, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Fishery Development Board (NFDB), the statement said.
The Cabinet decision would help in providing farmer members with requisite forward and backward linkages to market their produce, enhance their income, and obtain credit facilities and other services at the village level itself. Primary co-operative societies that cannot be revived will be identified for winding up, and new ones would be established in their area of operation, the statement said.
The establishment of new co-operative societies will generate employment opportunities in rural areas. A high-level Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC), under the chairmanship of Home and Co-operation Minister Amit Shah, has been constituted. Committees at National, State and district levels, have also been constituted to ensure focused and effective execution of the action plan.
To increase the viability of PACS and diversify their business activities, the model bylaws of PACS have already been prepared by the Ministry. The bylaws will enable PACS to undertake more than 25 business activities which include running petrol pumps, LPG distributorship beside others. The model bylaws have been circulated to all the States/ UTs on January 5 for their adoption by PACS after making suitable changes as per respective State Co-operative Acts.
According to the statement, the PACS — around 98,995 in number and having a member base of 13 crore — constitute the lowest tier of the short-term co-operative credit (STCC) structure, providing short-term and medium-term credit and other input services like seed, fertiliser and pesticide distribution to members.
Over 1.99 lakh primary dairy co-operative societies, with about 1.5 crore members, are engaged in procurement of milk from farmers, providing milk testing facilities, cattle feed sale and extension services. Over 25,297 primary fishery cooperative societies with 38 lakh members, provide marketing facilities, assist in procuring fishing equipment, fish seed and feed, besides credit facilities to members.
Source : The Hindu Business line Feb 15th 2023