Balu Iyer, Regional Director of ICA-AP made a scintillating presentation at NCUI Auditorium last week and exhorted cooperators to publicize their works both at national and international fora. “Nobody will talk about what you do unless you talk about it”, he underlined.
Balu was speaking on “Cooperatives and Sustainable Development Goals”-an event which was organized by NCUI on the day of its Annual General Body Meeting.
Listing the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals Balu proved with examples that cooperative is active in almost all of them and yet in the Voluntary National Report presented by the govt in the United Nations, not even once the word “cooperative” was mentioned. “This is because we do not tell govt what we are doing”, he said addressing cooperators present in the Hall.
Citing the example of water conservation by a co-op society in Lopariya village of Rajasthan and the digital payment facilities being offered by Thenhipalam Co-op Rural Bank in the name of Coopaisa, Balu said SDGs are very much part of our cooperative activities; alas we are not recongnized for the same”, he felt.
Balu’s main argument hovered around the fact that if the govt does not know what we do it would never take us on board for various activities in which we have a comparative advantage. Referring to Prime Minister’s goal of doubling farmers’ income Balu quoted Amul MD R S Sodhi’s statement in which the latter said that farmers’ income was raised four times at GCMMF.
Balu quoted ULCC as one of the best examples of Start-up India- a pet mantra of the Modi govt. “We are already active in the priority areas of the govt and yet we are not recognized”, he lamented.
Even UNO recognizes co-operative as a dependable tool to achieve SDGs, said Balu while repeating the resolution of the Quebec Conference in which it was decided that membership to cooperative fold would be increased from 1 billion to 2 and the figure for co-op enterprises would touch 4 million from the current 2 million by 2030.
But for this we need to integrate youths into our fold, he said while reading out conclusions of a survey on youth’s interest in cooperatives. He expressed satisfaction about the survey report which said 61% of today’s youth are willing to be part of co-operatives and are also willing to contribute up to Rs 500 for the purpose.
For a change, cooperators were the listeners in the meeting and they heard him out with rapt attention. Some of them also raised questions as Balu explained his subject brilliantly.
Ritesh Dey, Deputy Director of NCUI coordinated the event.