IFFCO’s Managing Director Dr US Awasthi is a free thinker and does not mince his words. In a free-wheeling chat with the Indian Cooperative he touched upon issues that hold down growth of the cooperative movement in the country.
Dr Awasthi said that cooperative is a huge subject and we need to have a separate Ministry for cooperation. He was referring to the case of Gujarat High Court quashing the 97th amendment in which the agricultural Ministry has filed a SLP in the Supreme Court.
The objection, I think is because the amendment was not discussed first in state assemblies as cooperative is a state subject, Awasthi said. Ministry would need to contest the case strongly in the Supreme Court, he added.
But most importantly Awathi felt political leadership should stay away from becoming office bearers of the cooperative bodies.
“Our learned forefathers steeped in democratic values visualized Panchayat as the political platform and cooperative as the commercial platform. Cooperatives should concern themselves with commercial activities alone”, he emphasized.
Referring to IFFCO, the Managing Director said that no politician is at the helm of affairs here. We have hard core cooperators as our directors. It has created an atmosphere that conduces to commercial growth naturally, he said.
He lamented the foreign exchange crisis as well as the free falling rupee. We are as good or as bad as the country’s economy is. These days, there is a great strain on the domestic economy which is bound to get reflected in the affairs of our organization, he regretted.
Additionally, there is the issue of delayed subsidy payment which is adding up to our woes, he added. IFFCO has always advocated for the subsidy to be paid to farmers directly sparing us the inconvenience, MD concluded.