Addressing a massive cooperative gathering at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said ”the spirit of co-operative is more important than posts and positions in cooperatives. Merely because you are in cooperative does not make you a cooperative soldier, Modi said hinting obliquely at the dwindling commitment of cooperators to the true values of cooperative in recent times.
“You need to ask yourself if the cooperator in you has given in to the lure of power and structure. There may be anomalies in the cooperative structure but these can be remedied if the cooperative spirit is overwhelming”, Modi said.
Prime Minister also took a dig at such cooperators who run after publicity. “Co-operative is a field where you have to keep yourself in the last line. These are times of extensive media activities and some individuals are able to steal the limelight making us believe they are truly great. But it is not always so”, he added.
Citing the case of Laxamanrao Inamdar Modi said “few people knew him; in fact they ask us now who was he that you are celebrating his birth centenary.” The fact that he was not widely known proves his commitment to cooperative values; he shunned publicity all his life; such was Vakil Saheb!, Modi stated.
“In all times and climes such individuals are born who selflessly work and nobody knows them. But the society benefits from them greatly,” PM said. “I worked with Vakil Saheb for many years of my youth and yet could not know the full of him, such was his humility. His life continues to inspire me everyday even now” underlined Modi.
“You are going to sit for the whole day deliberating on challenges before cooperatives; please do try to find ways to double farmers’ income. Co-operative has its roots primarily in villages and it still fills us with a sense of respect but things changed for the worse when it acquired new dimensions with urban cooperative structures coming into being”, Modi said. It was obvious he was hinting at present day graft in co-operatives without saying it in so many words.
Cooperative should venture out into new areas –there are a whole lot of them where cooperatives can do wonders, said the Prime Minister. It would indeed require the efforts of a generation of cooperative leaders before the results are visible, PM noted.
Giving examples he said fishermen sit idle for 4-5 months due to inclement weather; they can think of resorting to sea-weed farming through co-operatives. It’s done in 45 days cycle and sea weed juice is useful for pharmaceutical companies. He also talked about nimoli and wanted co-ops to organize women for the job.
Modi also asked assembled cooperators to think how a farmer who sells in wholesale and buys in retails can reverse the process; Amul’s success has this very formula at its root, he reminded.
Modi also said the spirit of cooperative comes natural to our country as it has its roots in the hoary past of our culture. Co-operative is bound to succeed here, he said while concluding his scintillating speech.
Earlier, Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh welcomed Narendra Modi by calling him the most popular Prime Minister in the world. Singh also said in three years of our rule more than two lakh people have got co-op training and more than Rs 29 thousand crore has been disbursed either as loan or as subsidy. He assured PM of working hard by the team cooperative to realize the goal of doubling farmers’ income.
Singh talked of setting up a Co-op Academy in the name of Inamdar in Gurugram. He also resolved to observe Inamdar’s birthday every year to encourage people to learn true co-op values.
Welcoming the Prime Minister and the guests Sahakar Bharati President Jyotindra Mehta said India showed the path to the world in the past and under the able leadership of Narendrabhai we are once again likely to assume the same role.
Calling Inamdar and his brothers as a family of selfless saints, Mehta said Vakil Saheb did not wish salvation; “I believe in rebirth and my wish is to be born again and again in Bharat to help bridge the gap between haves and have-nots”, Mehta quoted Inamdar’s words.
Mehta demanded that the co-op policies in different states which have become outdated should be renewed and brought in tune with times. “The co-op model has passed the acid test in 2008. When big companies melted in the heat of global recession, credit unions came out unscathed underlining the strength of the model”, he emphasized.
Several union ministers, state co-op ministers, Registrars of co-operatives, leaders of cooperatives and ordinary cooperators were present on the occasion. The Inamdar Awards were also distributed to seven co-ops for their excellent works.