Nafcub president and Sahakar Bharati Patron Jyotindrabhai Mehta is a disappointed man today. He is not at all enthused with the union budget presented before the Parliament by Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman and asks candidly where is the co-operative in the talk of gaon, garib and kisan?
I am happy with the massive money proposed to be spent on boosting the infrastructure in the country but I am disappointed when it comes to cooperative sector. In her speech the Minister referred to gaon garib and kisan on a number of occasions but I wish to ask her if the uplift of village is possible without involving cooperatives?
Cooperative permeates practically all villages of the country and the govt cannot imagine any other tool as powerful as cooperative to strike at the roots of poverty and lack of development in the country, said Mehta ruefully.
“On 80p also we are very disappointed as we had given two practical options to the govt-either remove it or bring the income tax for co-ops at par with corporate”, Mehta stated. “We are not against paying tax but please tax which are doing well”, explained Mehta underlining that there are 54 multistate schedule UCBs which can be taxed, leaving a vast majority of UCBs out of the IT net.
It bears recall that in her maiden Budget presented before the Parliament on Friday, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman talked a lot about rural development, but the word cooperative or cooperative bank was conspicuously missing as if they played no role in rural areas.
Instead of cooperative, the Union Minister stressed the role of private entrepreneurships and said they may help in driving value-addition to farmers’ produce from the field. She, however, announced that 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations will be formed to ensure economies of scale for farmers over the next five years.
Another important issue in her speech was boosting fisheries, though she did not mention the role of co-operative in this sector. “Through the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), a robust fisheries management framework would address critical gaps in strengthening the value chain, including infrastructure, modernization, etc”, she said. She depended more on govt fisheries dept than the fisheries co-ops in her speech.
She also mentioned Zero Budget Farming and said we need to replicate this innovative model.