Indian Cooperative has got wind of some of the provisions of the new Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2010 likely to be passed in this Winter Session. The Bill which has been rechristened Amendment Bill 2019 deals with the entire gamut of co-op laws in a comprehensive manner.
The three new provisions which the cooperative sector is not going to welcome are
1 Creation of Rehabilitation Fund for cooperatives
2 Custody of Education Fund &
3 Retirement age of MD/CEO
Informed sources say the new Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill proposes to have a Rehabilitation Fund for reviving sick cooperatives. The argument is that co-ops should contribute a part of their gains each year to this Fund which can be used for reviving a sick cooperative. The Bill prescribes a compulsory contribution.
Cooperators talking to Indian-cooperative on condition of anonymity, were not appreciative of this fact. They did not like the clause of compulsory contributions. Such contributions should be voluntary not compulsory, they opined.
Why should good cooperatives suffer the wrong-doings of bad ones, they argued explaining how sugar co-op mills in Maharashtra are being controlled by political parties with the sole aim of furthering their electoral fortunes.
Indian Cooperative has also learnt that the new Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill talks of shifting Education Fund away from the apex co-op body NCUI. Education Fund is a fund being maintained by NCUI and monitored by the Education Fund Committee, in which even some ministry officials are members.
Cooperators argued that the Fund gets contributions from co-op bodies and if a co-op body like NCUI is not its custodian why would anybody contribute to it. No co-op would like to take membership of any agency which is a govt body without cooperative as its driving principle, a top NCUI leader said.
The third issue of the new Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill that Indian Cooperative has become aware of relates to the retirement age of MDs/CEOs of co-op body. The new Bill stipulates that they should retire after attaining 70 years of age. But here, the Bill also enters a caveat- that is they may continue after 70 through Special Resolution passed by Special General Meeting.
But there is a catch. The Special Resolution must carry an Explanatory Note detailing the special circumstances under which this extension has been given to the person in question. But the matter does not end here. The Central Registrar- a representative of the govt has to agree to the explanatory note for it to be a reality. That is to say, the govt’s paramount power could easily prevail in the matter.
It bears recall that the govt has declared its intention to pass this Bill in the current Session which lasts till December 13. Besides this, there are about 26 other bills at various stages. The new Multi-State Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill is currently being vetted by the Law Ministry.