New Delhi [India], July 26 (ANI): Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill with Home Minister Amit Shah stating that government has taken several steps to revive the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) to make them viable and multi-dimensional.
The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022, was passed after a brief debate amid sloganeering by opposition MPs over their demands for a detailed discussion on the Manipur situation and a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Amit Shah, who is also Minister of Cooperation, said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Cabinet has given approval to the bill aimed at increasing transparency, accountability and profit in multi-state cooperative societies.
The minister, who replied amid continuous sloganeering by opposition MPs, said that a provision has been made for the Election Authority to conduct fair elections and the Authority will be as powerful as the Election Commission and there will be no government interference.
In addition, if one-third vacancies are created in the Board, a provision has been made to hold elections again for the vacant posts. Along with this, there are also provisions for discipline in board meetings and smooth functioning of cooperative societies.
The chairman, vice-chairman and members of the committees will be required to call board meeting in three months. He said that in order to bring transparency in the governance of the cooperative societies, a provision has been made to give majority to the equity shareholders.
Amit Shah said that reservation to one Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe and one woman in the committees has been provided in the bill. He said that non-compliance of various constitutional requirements can lead to disqualification of the board members.
Shah said that in the recruitment process of employees, no one will be given job in blood relations or distant relations. He said that the Right to Information has also been included in this bill. The Minister said that with the passing of this bill, a new era will begin in the country’s cooperative movement.
The Union Minister of Cooperation also informed the Lok Sabha about the various steps taken by the Ministry of Cooperation to strengthen cooperatives in the country. He said that since independence, all the people associated with cooperative sector in the country wanted that cooperatives should be given importance by the Central Government and a separate Ministry of Cooperation should be formed.
He said that fulfilling this decades-old demand, Prime Minister Modi formed a separate Ministry of Cooperation. Noting that cooperative movement in India is about 115 years old, he said this movement has given the country many important enterprises like Amul, Kribhco, IFFCO, which are source of employment for lakhs of people.
He said that no attention was paid to cooperatives in the last 75 years nor was there any brainstorming on this in the country’s parliament at the national or state level. Shah said that in the next 25 years, the cooperative sector will once again strongly contribute to the development of the country.
The Union Minister said there have been many major changes in the cooperative sector of the country in the last two years. He said that Prime Minister Modi has taken initiative towards computerization of 63,000 PACS across the country at a cost of Rs 2500 crores.
This will ensure the linkage of the PACS with District Cooperative Banks, State Cooperative Banks and NABARD. Shah said that after computerization, the process of audit of PACS will be completely online and they will be able to do many different kind of businesses.
He said that the Modi government prepared model bye-laws for PACS and sent them to all the states and, except Bengal and Kerala, all the states have accepted them and today PACS across the country are running under a similar law.
Shah said that now PACS will be able to do the work of FPO as well and 1100 PACS have already been registered as FPO. The minister said that PM Modi has given gas cylinders to crores of people of the country under initiatives launched by the Centre and now PACS will also be able to do the work of LPG distribution.
PACS will also be able to function as retail outlets, run Janaushadhi Kendras and do the work of water distribution by functioning as a water committee and will be engaged in the storage, as well. The Modi government, he said, has ended the injustice done to cooperatives for years and brought cooperative and corporate taxes at parity.
He said that farmers of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh sell their sugarcane to cooperative sugar mills but 30 percent income tax was imposed on it. He said that PM Modi has completely abolished the tax on the profit of the farmers and not only this, he has also made a provision to refund the tax paid earlier.
Shah said the Modi government decided to form three new multi-state societies to strengthen cooperatives. The first society will act as a platform to export the produce of the farmers. The second society will associate small farmers with the production of seeds and through this farmers with one acre of land will also be able to associate with seed production.
The third society will provide suitable price to the farmers for their produce by marketing their organic products across the country and the world. Shah said that apart from this, Modi government has also decided to set up a cooperative university for cooperative education in the coming days. The National Cooperative Database will also be started soon.
He said that there was never a national cooperative policy in the country between 2003 and 2020, but before Diwali this year, the new national cooperative policy will be formulated which will put the map of cooperatives in front of the country for the next 25 years.
Amit Shah said that Modi government has striven to free crores of people of the country from poverty in last 9 years. Detailed provisions for reforming the election process of members, bringing transparency in the society, strengthening the monitoring system and ease of doing business have been made in the Bill.
A release said that provisions have also been made in the bill, regarding discipline and professionalism among the members of the society, representation of weaker and marginalized sections in the board of directors.
The Bill also provides for redemption of government shares with the prior approval of the government, liquidation after providing an opportunity of being heard to the multi-state co-operative society, and enforcement of the Banking Regulation(BR) Act, 1949 on co-operative banks. (ANI)