IC Exclusive: Uttarakhand Minister vows to overhaul co-ops

Soon after ridding co-ops of the Congress influences in Uttarakhand, Cooperative Minister Dhan Singh Rawat is contemplating a large-scale modernization of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS). The modernization plan would begin coming to fruition in January, 2018.

Besides PACS, there are other areas in the cooperative sector in which the govt nurses ambitious plans. ‘We intend to set up Mahila District Cooperative Banks in 13 districts to empower women in the state, said Rawat. “So far we have opened 4 Mahila District Cooperative Banks”, claimed the Minister.

In a detailed telephonic interaction with Indian Cooperative Rawat said “We are planning to computerize PACS in the state and hope the work would start in January next year. The Center will allocate funds in 60:40 ratios, which is 60% percent by the center and 40 percent by the state government”, he said.

“Because of being a mountain state, we have urged the central government to allocate funds in 80:20 rations that is only 20% expenses should be met by the State Government. We are in communication with Union Minister of Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh in this connection”, he said talking to this correspondent.

There are around 750 PACS societies in the state and over 10 lakh farmers are associated with them.

He further said the total expenses incurred in modernizing PACS in the state will be around 30-35 crore, a roughly estimated cost would be 4-5 lakh per society. Computerization of PACS would help ensure transparency in the strengthening of cooperative societies, he added.

“National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has sanctioned a loan of Rs 2500 crore to diversify PACS’ activities which will help in generating employment opportunities as well as funds”, said Cooperative Minister.

Rawat informed that “Recently I had visited cooperative societies and PACS in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka and during the journey I came across several cooperatives doing praiseworthy work and I would like to replicate their working style in cooperatives of Uttarakhand”.

It bears recall that earlier the apex body of Cooperatives National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) advocated adoption of PACS as one of the building blocks of rural transformation in the first Pre-Budget consultative committee meeting held by Union FM Arun Jaitley.

Citing the example of a PACS in Gattududdenapalli village Minister said it had a profit of Rs 20 lakh before computerization but had a double upswing in profit after modernization. The modernization is helping farmers in a big way, he said while sharing the details with this correspondent on the phone.

In Uttrakhand there are 10 District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCB) with a network of more than 290 branches.

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