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Focus: GS-III Indian Economy, GS-II Governance

Why in news?

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare launched the YouTube Channel “Sahakar Cooptube NCDC India”, a new initiative by National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

Sahakar Cooptube NCDC Channel

  • The channel will focus on encouraging youth and farmers to learn about the benefits of cooperatives.
  • It will aim to bring in more youths in the cooperative sector.
  • The channel has so far been covering 18 states and more states are to be added in the near future.
  • The guidance videos being posted in the channel will help strengthening major initiatives of central government.
  • The NCDC Youtube channel will act as platform to reach to the inaccessible farmers and pull them into the cooperatives.

Recent actions

  • The Government has recently announced a series of transformative measures and sector specific financial packages to help agriculture.
  • The initiatives are steps towards One Nation One Market with the objective for India to become food factory of the world.
  • The gamut of exhaustive reforms and measures are intended to strengthen all activities and services in agriculture.
  • A key strategy in the ecosystem is to facilitate involvement of youth in cooperatives.

Why was this needed?

  • In India around 86% of Indian farmers are small and marginal.
  • Their average land holdings are only around 1 hectare.
  • These farmers along with landless farmers are facing challenges in accessing quality seeds, technologies, fertilisers and pesticides.
  • The FPOs and other cooperatives will provide a platform for collectivisation of small, marginal and landless farmers. They will give collective strength to deal with the above issues.
  • Thus, the NCDC YouTube channel will act as platform to reach to these inaccessible farmers and pull them into the cooperatives.

National Cooperative Development Corporation

  • The National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) is a Statutory Corporation set up under National Co-operative Development Corporation Act, 1962.
  • The objectives of NCDC are planning and promoting programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, foodstuffs, industrial goods, livestock and certain other notified commodities and services on cooperative principles and for matters concerned therewith or incidental thereto.
  • Planning, promoting and financing programmes for production, processing, marketing, storage, export and import of agricultural produce, food stuffs, certain other notified commodities , supply of consumer goods and collection, processing, marketing, storage and export of minor forest produce through cooperatives, besides income generating stream of activities such as poultry, dairy, fishery, sericulture, handloom etc. are Functions of the NCDC.
  • NCDC Act has been further amended which will broad base the area of operation of the Corporation to assist different types of cooperatives and to expand its financial base.
  • NCDC will now be able to finance projects in the rural industrial cooperative sectors and for certain notified services in rural areas like water conservation, irrigation and micro irrigation, agri-insurance, agro-credit, rural sanitation, animal health, etc.

Cooperative Movement and Cooperative Societies in India

What are Cooperative Societies?

  • The Cooperative Societies can be defined as an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise”.
  • The Cooperative Movement was started by the weaker sections of society for protecting its members from the clutches of large profit hungry businesses.

Cooperative Movement in pre-Independence era

  • The British government came forward and passed three acts- the Deccan Agriculture Relief Act (1879), the Land Improvement Loan Act (1883) and the Agriculturists Loan Act (1884) – when farmers agitated against extortion by money-lenders.
  • However, that Cooperative movement was introduced with structure and shape when the British enacted the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904.
  • In 1919, Cooperative societies became a provincial subject and the provinces were authorised to make their own cooperative laws under the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms.

The Cooperative movement after Independence

  • After independence cooperatives became an integral part of Five-Year Plans.
  • In 1958, the National Development Council (NDC) had recommended a national policy on cooperatives and also for training of personnel’s and setting up of Co-operative Marketing Societies.
  • In 1984, Parliament of India enacted the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act to remove the plethora of different laws governing the same types of societies.

Provisions of Indian Constitution

  • Directive Principles of State Policy enshrines under article 43 that- the State shall endeavour to promote cottage industries on an individual or co-operative basis in rural areas.
  • Right to form cooperatives can also be construed as a Fundamental Right, Article 14 – (Right to Equality) and Article 19(1)(c) as ‘Right to form Associations or Unions.
  • The Constitution (Ninety Seventh Amendment) Act 2011 relating to the co-operatives is aimed to encourage economic activities of cooperatives which in turn help progress of rural India.

97th Amendment

  • In Part III of the constitution, after words “or unions” the words “Cooperative Societies” was added.
  • In Part IV a new Article 43B was inserted, which says: The state shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of the co-operative societies”.
  • After Part IXA of the constitution, a Part IXB was inserted to accommodate state vs centre roles.
April 2024