Addressing the 17th Indian Cooperative Congress at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi upped the ante for co-op sector and asked it to become the partner of the govt in realizing the dream of a developed India.
Giving a list of activities where co-operatives can play an important role, Modi said “it’s true that we do not have oil wells and thus there is no alternative to importing the same but why should we import edible oil when we have a robust co-operative movement in the country, stated Modi while appreciating the increasing share of export in dairy co-ops, honey and other sectors. PM listed fish fodder, dalahan, edible oils, etc as the stuff where co-ops should ensure local production.
One of the important messages sent by the Prime Minister in the Congress was underlining the fact that cooperation is an agent of social and economic transformation and not a tool of electoral politics.
He said when co-ops efforts will match with that of the government, nothing can stop India from becoming a developed nation. He asked co-ops to be partners in many fields including securing an international market for Millets, taking five villages around itself and converting their farm into chemical free land, opening Amrit Sarovar (ponds) for solving the sake of water conservation.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that cooperatives will become a powerful medium of the country’s economic source in the new India. He also emphasized the need to build villages that will become self-sufficient by following the cooperative model. He also suggested improving cooperation in cooperatives
In a statement which drew widespread applause Modi said “I have done my part by giving you a separate ministry and now it’s your turn to fulfil your pledge of ushering in an era of cash and corruption free co-op governance. India is known for digital transactions in the world and cooperatives have to match with the image, Modi said.
The main theme of the 17th Indian Cooperative Congress was ‘Amrit Kaal: Prosperity through Cooperation for a Vibrant India’.Modi also launched E-Portals of e-Commerce website for Cooperative Marketing, and Cooperative Extension and Advisory Services Portal.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister congratulated everyone on the occasion and said that the country is working towards the goal of a ‘developed and Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
The Prime Minister also noted that the contribution of women in the dairy sector is approximately 60 percent.
He informed that it was the first time that a separate ministry was formed and a budget was allocated for cooperatives, and as a result, the cooperatives are being presented with a platform exactly like the corporate sector. The Prime Minister also informed about the measures to strengthen cooperative societies and mentioned the reduction in tax rates. He also informed about the measures to strengthen cooperative banks and gave examples of flexibility in opening new branches and doorstep banking.
He said, as opposed to the scarce support of the past, further reduced by the middlemen, now, crores of farmers are getting Kisan Samman Nidhi directly in their accounts. In the last 4 years 2.5 lakh crore rupees have been transferred under this scheme in a transparent manner, he said.
He also talked of Modi Guarantee in the context of fertilizers and compared the cost of a urea bag in India to that of other countries. “What we get in Rs 270 is sold at Rs 720 in Bangladesh, Rs 800 in Pakistan, Rs 2100 in China and Rs 3000 in the USA. In the last 9 years, more than Rs 10 lakh crore have been spent on just fertilizer subsidies”, he stated.
Modi talked of increased MSP and said more than 15 lakh crores have been given to the farmers in the last 9 years. “On average, the Government is spending more than 6.5 lakh crores yearly on agriculture and farmers”, Shri Modi said. “The government is making sure that every farmer in the country receives around 50 thousand rupees every year in some way or the other”, he asserted.
Underlining that the main cooperative societies of the primary level or PACS will become a model for transparency, the Prime Minister informed that the computerization of more than 60,000 PACS is taking place.
Modi elaborated on the measures taken to meet the challenges of the sugarcane farmers, especially about not getting remunerative prices and timely payment. Sugar mills were given a package of Rs 20,000 crore for clearing farmers’ dues. Ethanol blending of petrol was prioritized and ethanol worth 70,000 crore rupees was purchased from the sugar mills in the last 9 years, he said.
Modi highlighted that the role of PACS is expanding in many new sectors like fish farming and the government is working on the target of creating 2 lakh new multipurpose societies across the country. With this, the Prime Minister said, the power of co-operatives will reach even those villages and panchayats where this system is not functional.
Referring to the focus on FPOs in the last few years, the Prime Minister informed that work is going on the creation of 10 thousand new FPOs and 5 thousand have already been created. “These FPOs are going to give great power to small farmers. These are means of making small farmers a big force in the market.
The Prime Minister highlighted the Gobardhan Scheme and informed that many companies have built more than 50 biogas plants in the country so far and urged the cooperative societies to come forward and support Gobardhan plants. Giving the example of foot and mouth disease, Modi urged the cooperatives to come forward for this, be it a vaccination campaign or animal tracing. Shri Modi emphasized that animals are equal stakeholders.
Modi also talked about the topic of storage and said the world’s biggest storage scheme is to create 700 lakh tonne storage capacity in the next five years compared to a total of 1400 lakh tonnes in the last so many decades. He informed that for agriculture infrastructure a fund of one lakh crore rupees has been created and, in the last 3 years, more than 40 thousand crore rupees have been invested in that. A big portion of this investment is from PACs and he said that there is a need for more efforts from the cooperatives in the creation of farmgate infrastructure.
While Union Ministers such as Amit Shah, B L Verma, President of ICA AP Dr Chandrapal Singh Yadav, and NCUI President Dilip Sanghani were present on the dais, co-operators from across the states including those from the national level co-op federations were present in strength on the occasion.