Amit Shah calls for uniformity in state cooperative laws

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Declares that elections in cooperatives should be held in a democratic and transparent manner, suggests a body similar to the EC for this purpose

Union Home Minister Amit Shah | Photo: PTI

After endless debates on One Nation – One Ration Card, One Nation – One Language, etc., the stage seems set for One Nation – One Cooperatives Law.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also in charge of the new Ministry of Cooperation, said the Union government aims to unify state laws related to cooperatives through dialogue and coordination. However, states have the right to have their own cooperative laws and the Center does not intend to interfere in their operation, he added.

He made this proposal at the two-day national conference on national cooperation policy. Minister of State for Cooperation BL Verma, Secretary DK Singh and Managing Director of the National Cooperatives Development Corporation Sandeep Kumar Nayak were among those attending the event.

Model Regulations

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The Center is set to adopt model regulations to govern about 63,000 primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) across the country and is also developing a national policy for cooperatives which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.

Shah said the defunct PACS should either be revived or liquidated. “Businesses and industries can bring development to the country, but the cooperative is the only model that can help in the equitable distribution of benefits among the 80 million economically backward people in the country. We have seen this happen; cooperative movements such as Lijjat and Amul are examples,” he said.

According to a report in The Hindu, cooperatives are a source of political power in states such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat, parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Some of the cash-rich cooperatives are controlled by opposition parties such as the NCP, CPI(M) and Congress, the report adds.

EC type body for cooperative surveys

Shah further said that elections in cooperatives should be held in a democratic and transparent manner. To this end, he suggested that a body on the model of the Electoral Commission organize the polls.

“Computerization is essential to ensure transparency in cooperatives. Democratic principles must also be established. An organization like the Election Commission of India should be formed to ensure transparency in cooperative elections,” he said.

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