A novel and original way of conducting a membership drive for PACS in Bihar has been launched. Dumari Bujurg Panchayat in Chhapra stands out as an example. In a remarkable way of catching attention a loud public announcement by the beating of drum was made to enlist people of the panchayat as PACS members.
Thanks to the efforts put in by Biscomaun Chairman Sunil Singh, the number of PACS members has spiked counting a whopping nine thousand. Everybody figuring in the voter list of the panchayat was made a PACS member by 30th June. The list of members has already been submitted to DCO / BCO for holding elections.
Calling PACS as a one-window solution for farmers’ need, Sunil Singh said that along with membership drive, strengthening of PACS is also very important. He said that it is heartening to note that from Nabard to the state govt to the Centre- everyone seems to understand the role PACS can play in the growth of rural economy.
Sunil added that if the state government gives agriculture loans to the farmers, PACS presidents should enlist maximum number of people as members. However, if the government fails to extend such loans to the farmers, PACS presidents should flinch from enlisting even one single individual as a member, Sunil Singh said.
Talking about how he ensures that every member of the village becomes a member, he enlisted the names of about seven women who got married with village boys within the last month. “Daughter in laws of the village are now its residents and they cannot be left behind”, he underlined.
It bears recall that recently in a pre-budget consultation, representing NCUI, its Chief Executive N Sataynarayan batted for PACS and said for the comprehensive development of rural areas, viable PACS need to be converted into nodal agencies for both input and output needs of the farming community.
There is a govt report that out of the total of 98 thousand PACS, 63 thousand are being computerized. There is a growing feeling in both cooperative and govt sectors that agri inputs such as seed, fertilizer or credit etc could be serviced through PACS much efficiently.
Similarly PACS can either collect farmers’ produce from the field or forward it straight to market or value addition centres depending on the situation, say people working on the idea of making PACS a viable alternative of rural growth engine.