‘RBI disparity towards cooperative banks being resolved’

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The problem of the Reserve Bank of India not treating co-operative banks on an equal footing with private lenders in some issues such as interest subsidy on education loans is being addressed, said Union Minister of State for Cooperation BL Verma on Monday.

Addressing an event organized by the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI), Verma stressed the need to address the issues facing cooperatives to further boost the sector.

”The Chairman of NCUI spoke about the problem faced due to the different approach of the RBI towards Co-operative Banks…these issues were discussed from time to time with the Head of the RBI and the Minister of Finance. There was a positive discussion and the decision is pending. This decision will be in our favour,” Verma said.

Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with RBI Chief and Finance Minister. ”Not only related to the student loan, but other issues like income tax which were impediments for co-ops were discussed in a positive way,” he explained while speaking to PTI after the event.

”Why are cooperatives treated differently from the private sector? This issue has been brought before them,” he added.

Verma said a new Ministry of Cooperation has been created, realizing its role in nation building. Cooperatives can manage not only small businesses, but also large ones.

It is necessary to upgrade cooperative banks with technology to provide 365-day banking services. It is also necessary to speed up the IT training of the workforce in cooperatives to operate in a professional manner, he said.

A ministry of cooperatives has been established with the aim of expanding the cooperative movement in the country from the current level of around 8.60 lakh cooperatives with over 30 million members, he added.

Verma also unveiled NCUI’s monthly magazine ‘Cooperator’ at the inauguration of the 68th All India Cooperative Week. The issue of RBI’s disparity towards co-operative banks was raised by NCUI Chairman Dileep Singhani in his speech at the event, while listing the hurdles facing the sector.

”RBI has a different approach towards cooperative banks compared to private banks. A student will not get a grant on a student loan for studying abroad from a cooperative bank unlike the private sector. Is that right?” he said.

Singhani said there is a “disparity” towards cooperatives and hopes this will change with the creation of a new ministry. He said there is not a single village in India where cooperatives are not functioning. The growth of the country is possible thanks to cooperatives, but obstacles such as the question of income tax arise.

The cooperation started in India during the British era in 1904. It grew after the country’s independence with IFFCO, Anand Milk Union Ltd (AMUL), among others, which were successful, he added. Singhani hoped that a new cooperation policy which is on the anvil will instill confidence in the people in the role of the cooperative in the growth of the country and open up new avenues for the youth.

NCUI chief executive Sudhir Mahajan said the cooperative union has taken steps to strengthen affected cooperatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 41 field projects have been implemented to empower small aid groups, a skills development center is being built in Noida to train the youth and even the NCUI Haat at the NCUI campus in Delhi has received a good response over the past three months, he said. That aside, NCUI has signed four memorandums of understanding for skills development and motivational training, among other things, in addition to partnering with Zeroda’s Rainmatter Foundation.

The NCUI has set a goal of creating 50 model villages in the next five years and aims to create the NCUI Haat in 20 states in the future, he added.

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Posted: Monday November 15th 2021, 7:53 PM IST

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