The Federal Cooperation Department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare is making a mockery of the much touted 97th Constitutional Amendment which, among other things, guarantees the right of forming cooperative as the Citizens’ Fundamental Right.
In the last six months the total output of the Department has been to give multi-state status to just three co-operative societies and that too when some cabinet Ministers lobbied hard with the ministry, says a source.
Obviously, a policy paralysis has been caused by the twin factors of the lack of pro-active attitude among the officials and a spate of cases of fly-by-nigh operators in Odisha and West Bengal. The cheat funds operating under the garb of co-operatives have done irreparable damage to the basic concept of co-operative idea, lament those keeping tabs on the matter.
Observers also point out that compared to the surfeit of shell companies being thrown up by media in recent times , the number of fake cooperatives are much less. “After all these shell companies are enrolled under the Company Act”, they point out.
When Indian Cooperative contacted NCUI-the apex body of cooperatives in the country on the issue , its Chief Executive was frank “ we feel unnecessarily busy at times as we are not here for routine work; it is the job of NCUI to promote the cooperative movement. And the current trend, I am afraid , is not encouraging.”
According to sources, among the three lucky ones which got the multi-state status had the blessings of the likes of Nitin Gadkari and Radha Mohan Singh.
Cooperatives operating in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh are suffering the most due to bifurcation of the state into two-Telanagan and AP.
Indian Cooperative had done a piece last year in September where it revealed that out of 200 applicants only one had the tag of multi state cooperative. There is more rejection than acceptance, said several applicants when contacted.
The figure is at variance with the focus of the Modi govt which has been pushing hard to improve the “ease of doing business.” While a company is registered in no time these days, a multi state Co-op takes ages to come up, felt many.
In the backdrop, the idea of forming cooperative being a fundamental right becomes a joke, they said.