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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

New National Cooperative Policy almost ready: Suresh Prabhu

The former commerce and industry minister said the policy has the potential to change the socio-economic dimension of India.

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KOLKATA, Aug 19: The new National Cooperative Policy is almost ready, and a 47-member committee is in the process of submitting the draft to the central government, chairman of the panel and former union minister Suresh Prabhu said.

Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah had last year announced that a dedicated policy will soon be prepared to strengthen the cooperative movement in the country, and that Prabhu will head the national-level committee.

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The panel members include experts and representatives of the cooperative sector and officials of central ministries.

“The policy document is almost ready and the submission process is underway. We can now look forward to the release of the policy and its implementation,” Prabhu told PTI on the sidelines of an event organised by the merchants’ chamber of commerce & industry here.

The former commerce and industry minister said the policy has the potential to change the socio-economic dimension of India, substantially increasing the share of cooperatives in the total GDP.

Prabhu said the idea behind the policy is to promote a cooperative-based economic development model backed by a legal and institutional framework.

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“I have been connected with all types of national and international cooperatives for a long time, and know their potential. Any economic activity will add value to people’s lives, but cooperatives help in spreading and distributing income while creating wealth.

“And, that is the reason the government is thinking of increasing the share of cooperatives in almost all sectors of the economy,” he said.

The existing National Policy on Cooperatives was formulated in 2002.

India has around 8.5 lakh cooperative societies with a member base of nearly 29 crore, according to government data. These cooperatives are engaged in varied activities like agro-processing, dairying, fisheries, housing, weaving, credit and marketing.

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Prabhu, also a former railway minister, added that the cooperation ministry has decided upon creating cooperative warehousing as well.

“I think this is an amazing idea to further boost cooperatives. Millions of square metres of warehousing are being developed across the country,” he added.

In his Independence Day address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that cooperatives are a significant part of India’s social economy, and that a separate ministry was created to empower cooperatives and spread their network. (PTI)

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