The new Union Agriculture and Cooperation Minister in Modi’s dispensation Mr Radha Mohan Singh is meeting cooperators these days to understand cooperatives. With the change of guard it had always been felt that some fundamental transformation would take place.
Ranjit Singh, son of late Tapeshwar Singh, cooperative doyen from Bihar and RamIqbal Singh, former Chairman of NCCF and currently heading agri-cooperative NACOF were firsts to meet the Minister. “Minister Saheb was very relaxed and we sat for more than half an hour. The meeting was arranged informally but we could gauge the hunger of Mr Singh to know more and more about cooperatives”,said Mr Iqbal soon after the meeting to this correspondent on phone.
Ranjit Singh who has been a non-starter so far in cooperative has strong legacy of the movement.Besides his father, his elder brother Ajit Singh called shots in national level cooperatives for a number of years before an untimely accident killed him. But Singh is first a businessman and then anything else, says his friends as he keeps himself busy mostly in hotel business.
Indian Cooperative has learnt that in order to have a grip on the functioning of the cooperatives, the Minister has called former Central Registrar R K Tiwary. Tiwary is an old hand and a peace-maker who ,though knowledgeable did little to clear the mess created by some cooperators in the national level cooperative federations. Tiwary’s mantra had been: “live and let live”, said an expert. A typical bureaucrat Tiwary takes his job just as a job and not as a mission as Modi would like him to do.
Dr Dinesh, Chief Executive of apex cooperative body NCUI has also sought time with the Minister. There are several issues on which Dr Dinesh would like the Minister to focus, sooner than later.
The former Minister Sharad Pawar, himself a cooperator had his own personal agenda in choosing heads of cooperative federations. In comparison Radhamohan is novice with little understanding of the cooperative as of now, said a source.
But BJP has a cooperative cell which is hell bent on imposing its own candidates on the cooperative federations. Though Ashok Thakur failed to make his mark in the NAFED election despite his best efforts, that things would remain the same in the future cannot be predicted.