New Ministry of Cooperation created to strengthen cooperative movement

In a historic move, the Government of India has created a separate new ministry, “Ministry of Co-operation ” for realizing the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’. The ministry will provide a separate administrative, legal, and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country.

The Central Government signaling a commitment to a community-based developmental partnership created the Ministry of Cooperatives. The creation of the Ministry also fulfills the budget announcement made by the Finance Ministry. The Ministry will help in deepening the co-operatives as a true people-based movement reaching up to the grassroots.

What are Cooperatives?

A cooperative is an association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common, economic, social, and cultural needs through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprises.

The Cooperative movement is based on seven basic principles of voluntary and open membership, democratic members control, members economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community. Further, cooperatives aim to provide goods and services and prevent the exploitation of weaker members of society and protect the rights of both consumers and producers.

Multi-State Cooperatives (MSCS)

The Ministry of Co-operatives aims at the development of Multi-State Cooperatives. The Ministry will work to streamline the process for ease of doing business for cooperatives and enable the development of Multi-State Cooperatives (MSCS).

At present the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002 consolidates and amend the law relating to co-operative societies, to facilitate the voluntary formation and democratic functioning of co-operatives.

Cooperative-based economic development

The cooperative movement started in India as a result of economic distress caused to peasants during the latter part of the 19th century. The real cooperative movement, however, began with the passing of the Co-operative Credit Societies Act of 1904. The purpose of the cooperative movement was to strengthen the cooperative societies, their functioning and improve social and economic standards.

In India, cooperative societies have been helping in the economic upliftment of societies. Each member of the cooperative works together for its development. Cooperative-based economic activities help members carry out self-help operations, agriculturist communities, arrange for the marketing of the agricultural produce, etc. Further, they also help in the overall development of society.