The highest level policy making body in the country Niti Aayog held yet another meeting with cooperators within a month of the first meeting held last month, underlining the govt’s commitment to overhauling the cooperative movement in the country.
Following the discussions held last month on the subject “Cooperative Sector as a catalyst for Development” Niti Aayog met a select few cooperators. The meeting was chaired by Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar.
Satish Marathe presented an overall view of cooperative scenario in the country underlining the importance of strengthening PACS so that they play a proactive role in both farm and non-farm sectors. Several cooperators including NCUI Chief Executive N Satayanarayan agreed with Marathe on the issue. Satyanarayan said ”co-op movement can’t grow without the presence a strong network of PACS”.
Ministry official Ms Kamana Prasad made a presentation on the proposed amendments to the MSCS Act 2002. The act of 2002 has been found lacking on several occasions. Ministry had earlier taken opinions from all the stake-holders on the issue. The bill is presently pending in the House. While there are certain provisions which are supported by cooperators, there are also issues which are vociferously being opposed by them in the proposed amendments.
In the present case Kamna Prasad made a strong pitch for retiring the CEOs or MDs of co-op organizations at the age of 70. She made RBI’s retirement age for private banks as benchmark, said one of the participants. “While Sanjay Agrawal, Secretary Agriculture was open to making exception to this once in a while, Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman was not ready to allow any dilution in the proposed age of retirement”, said one of the participants on condition of anonymity. Marathe, however felt that a CEO may continue after 70 provided the post is made honorary.
The issue of proposed amendments-retirement and others- are being circulated to all the stake-holders and the final draft will be prepared only after wider consultations, confirmed a ministry official.
There were also detailed discussions on the Startup Fund recently announced by Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh. The Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST members. A presentation on the issue was also made on the occasion.
The meeting was attended by all the top officials from the Ministry including Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, Additional Secretary Vasudha Mishra, Central Registrar Abhilaksh Likhi and others. The cooperative world had also a strong representation as those who attended the meeting included NCUI CE N. Satyanarayana, VAMNICOM Director, Dr. K.K.Tripathy, Fishcopfed Chairman Prasad Dora, its MD B.K.Mishra, Sahakar Bharati Patron Satish Marathe, IFFCO representative Yogendra Kumar, ICNF’s Nandani Azad and others.
Soon after the meeting Fishcopfed MD B.K. Mishra said to this correspondent, “There shall be more meetings in future. Amendment of the MSCS Act was the main issue besides the recognition of contributions of the cooperative sector”, Mishra said.
Vamnicom Director Dr. K.K.Tripathy was all praise for Niti Aayog organizing the meeting. “We are very happy that Niti Aayog is organizing meeting for the cooperators which will encourage the cooperatives to work better. The meeting was fruitful and discussion was held on several issues related to co-ops” he said to this correspondent on the phone.