The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for a revamp of laws governing cooperative sector in the context of changed techno-economic so that it becomes viable and vibrant enterprise. He was delivering the Laxmanrao Inamdar Memorial Lecture on Cooperatives, organized by Sahakar Bharati, in Mumbai University on Thursday.
The Vice President said that lack of awareness, vagaries of monsoon, lack of access to market and storage facilities is making agriculture unviable there by forcing people to migrate from rural areas to urban areas.
The Vice President called upon the cooperative sector to play key role in strengthening rural economy and also help the farmers raise their income. To achieve this, he asked Research institutions and government agencies to support Cooperatives in their efforts to educate farmers and encourage them diversify into allied vocations like horticulture, fishery, bee-keeping, rural logistics and transportation, food processing etc to generate additional income.
The Vice President also asked for an increased focus and attention of authorities, politicians, media, and scientists to make united efforts to improve the lives of people dependent of farming and Agriculture.
He, however, added that the cooperative sector was facing structural challenges in recent past and stressed the need to address challenges faced by the sector such as politicization of cooperatives and bureaucratic control, low level of participation by women and youth.
Shri Naidu said that Cooperatives can help in reducing the cost of production by sensitizing farmers about judicious use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, by encouraging and training farmers in the use of organic manure and efficient use of water and by collective procurement of capital-intensive equipment and inputs.
The Vice President sought for coordinated efforts of Cooperatives, Agriculture Research Institutions, Kisan Vikas Kendras and farmers’ groups in line with government’s resolve to double the farmer’s income by 2022.
The Vice President said that Indian cooperative movement has a great history and has made tremendous progress in several sectors of the Indian economy and said that with a network of over 8.50 lakh cooperatives with membership of well over 25 crores have operations across the spectrum made it the biggest in the world.
Shri Naidu said that Cooperative sector has proven to be a successful model world over and countries like Singapore, Denmark, Scandinavian countries, Japan and Switzerland have seen success. He has also stressed the need to learn from best practices and see if we can adopt some best practices in fields such as healthcare, retail, Food Production and others.
Quoting the reach of the sector in different countries, the Vice President said that 55 per cent of the retail market in Singapore and 36 per cent in Denmark were being held by cooperatives. He further said that Consumer cooperatives have prominent presence in Scandinavian countries, Japan and Switzerland and countries like Japan, Germany, France and Netherlands, provide affordable health care to common people based on cooperative model. We must learn from them and try to emulate such models here in India for the betterment of common man, he added.
Besides the Sahakar Bharati leaders, the Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Ch. Vidya Sagar Rao, the Minister for Higher and Technical Education of Maharashtra, Vinod Tawde and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.