In an exclusive interview G H Amin, Chairman of Gujarat State Co-operative Federation tells how the state co-op union runs cooperative programmes with a band of both male and female instructors with a special focus on the latter.
We have separate cooperative education programmes for the benefit of female members of cooperatives, Amin said to this correspondent in his union office in Gandhinagar.
Amin who is also Vice President of NCUI said ”we are having six cooperative training centers that are located at Nadiad, Mehsana, Surat, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Ahmadabad.
Recounting the initiative taken in the interest of women, he said ” the Gujarat cooperative training centre is having a separate hostel for women trainees in Surat and soon the same facility will be made available in other training centers. We are also organizing seminars for the women” he said.
Earlier, the Bhavnagar training centre was on rent and we passed a resolution to construct our own centre in Nari Village (Bhavnagar). The new centre is named after Vaikunthbhai Mehta, a veteran cooperator who hailed from Bhavnagar, Amin said.
For constructing the new training centre, the union’s board members went to State Registrar office with the project report and could acquire land for the project after paying Rs 2.5 crore. The amount was raised from cooperatives bodies in the state, he added.
He was also happy informing that the newspaper “Sahakar” of the Gujarat State Cooperative union has been adjudged the best newspaper at national level by NCUI.
But initially everything was not hunky dory said Amin going down memory lane. After bifurcation of then Bombay state in 1960 into Gujarat and Maharashtra, a need was felt to have an organization that can play a pivotal role in cooperative education and strengthening of the coop movement in the state.
With the efforts put in by veteran cooperative leaders of Gujarat, the GSCU was established in 1960. The GSCU together with District Cooperative Unions were able to develop a strong cooperative movement in Gujarat, he claimed.
“When I became the chairman in 1993 the Union was in the red so much so that nearly 10 lakh rupees were deducted from employees’ salaries and even their provident fund was not deposited in their accounts”, Amin added.
As per the Employees Provident Fund Act, it is a criminal offence not to deposit employees’ money in their accounts. At the same time, another challenge that confronted the union was where to manage fund from for educational activities. We made a representation to the state govt urging it to frame a law, the govt readily agreed and a law was framed. We have never looked back since then Amin noted.