After her formal pre-budget consultations with the farm sector leaders at her office earlier, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held meetings with other stake holders including Sahakar Bharti leaders at her residence last week.
A strong Sahakar Bharati team led by its Patron Jyotindra Mehta presented a list of demands cooperators would like the government to consider. Besides Mehta, Sahakar Bharati President Ramesh Vaidya, General Secretary, Uday Joshi and Organizing Secretary Sanjay Pachpor, and others were present in the meeting.
Sahakar Bharati leaders tried to draw the minister’s attention to several issues plaguing the sector for long. Prominent among them were Rural Credit Delivery System – Primary Agricultural Co-op Societies (PACs), Dist Central Co-Op Banks (DCCBs) and State Co-Op Banks and Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs).
They demanded that the govt should provide Deposit Insurance Cover upto Rs 50,000/- for Deposits mobilised by PACs as recommended by the Khusro Committee. They also wanted the govt to encourage PACs to set up Agro Processing Units.
“Releasing Rehab Package for SCARDBs and PCARDBs was another important issue brought before the Minister’, said Satish Marathe who could not make it to the meeting though.
On Dairy Co-operative Societies the leaders felt that the govt should make available Liquid Milk at an affordable rate, encouragement to the new 1.70 Lakhs Primary Milk Co-ops and setting up new 200 Milk Processing Units.
The demands also included -Levying Custom Duty at 40% on all imported Dairy Products, making available Cattle-feed at affordable rates, encouraging District/State Level Milk Unions/Federations to set up Cattle-feed Mfg Units and Reducing GST to 5% on Dairy Product and Dairy Machineries/Equipment.
The delegation also touched upon a host of issues such as Agro-Processing Cooperative Societies, Fisheries Cooperatives, Weavers? Co-op Societies and Co-op Mills, Housing cooperatives and consumer cooperatives.
It also mentioned Co-op Training, Extending Ease of Doing Business Norms to Co-ops and initiation of the process to confer Scheduled Status to eligible Co-op Banks On Urban Co-op Banks, the Sahakar Bharati delegation demanded initiation of the process to give License to new Urban Co-op Banks and inclusion of all Urban Co-op Banks under Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security.
Restoring benefit under Section 80P to UCBs, encouraging large Credit Co-ops to convert into UCBs and increasing limit up to Rs 50,000/- for entertaining Cash Transactions were some of the important demands.
It also wanted the Minister to recognize Co-ops registered under any Liberal Act including Karnataka’s Souharda as a Co-op Society.
(The details of the presentation would be given separately)