Farmers’ Progress Is Possible Through Co-Operatives

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Rajkumar Chahar

Farmers’ welfare and upliftment of the poor cannot be imaginable without the help of cooperatives. In the Amrit Mahotsav year of independence, fulfilling the 75 years’ old demand, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for the first time formed the Ministry of Cooperation and Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah was given the responsibility to spread the cooperative movement in the nook and corner of the country. The mantra of the Ministry of Cooperatives is ‘Sahakari Se Samriddhi’ or ‘Prosperity through cooperation’. The Ministry of cooperatives has been created only to strengthen cooperative institutions, to modernize them, to make them transparent and to keep them competitive.

Cooperative is not a borrowed idea for India. The cooperative movement in India could be traced from very ancient time. It is mixed in the nature of the people; so, the Cooperative movement has achieved phenomenal successes in India. The cooperative movement has strengthen the rural society and also createed a new concept of social capital. Under the visionary guidance of PM Shri Narendra Modi and leadership of Shri Amit Shah the Ministry of Cooperation is making very significant contributions in the development of the country. Connecting every village with cooperative, making every village prosperous with the mantra of ‘Sahakari Se Samriddhi’ and then making the country prosperous, is the role of cooperative for which the PM has been working day and night.

Cooperation is the culture of India

Since 1904, the cooperative sector has seen many ups and downs. Cooperative banks

IFFCO, Amul and Lijjat are signing examples of the cooperatives. IFFCO is giving a new direction to the Green Revolution whereas, Amul and Lijjat did what big corporates could not do in this country

work for the people without worrying about profits. Today, about 91% of the villages in the country are such where one or the other cooperative organization works. There will not be any country in the world where cooperatives are present in 91% of the villages. About 36 lakh families of the country are directly connected with cooperatives in one way or the other. Cooperative is for the development of poor, farmers and backward. For that whenever any calamity has befallen the cooperativ have pulled the country out.

Rise of IFFCO, Amul and Lijjat

For the first time, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given the mantra of ‘Sahakari Se Samriddhi’. As per the expectations of the Prime Minister, the cooperative sector is now contributing significantly to fulfil the goal of making the country a $5 trillion economy. Through the Ministry of cooperatives, the work of giving a new direction to the sector and expediate the pace of development is going on consistently. IFFCO, Amul and Lijjat are signing examples of the cooperatives. IFFCO is giving a new direction to the Green Revolution whereas, Amul and Lijjat did what big corporates could not do in this country.

IFFCO, a society formed in 1967 with 57 cooperatives, is today, running with more than 36,000 cooperatives. About 5.5 crore farmers are getting its benefits. You can imagine that whatever a big company earns, it goes to its owner, but whatever income IFFCO earns, every penny of it is going to 5.5 crore farmers, this is called cooperative. Today, IFFCO bears almost the entire responsibility of fertilizers for the country.

Similarly, the rise of Amul was possible because of the vision and foresight of Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. In 1946, when the British decided that farmers would have to give all their milk to a private company, a movement started against it and Amul was formed. Today, the journey of Amul is in front of all of us. Amul’s turnover has crossed 53 thousand crore in 2020-21. About 36 lakh farmers are associated with it directly. It has contributed enormously for the empowerment of rural women.

Crores of farmers and people of the country are benefitted from Amul likewise, lakhs of women have got support and employment from Lijjat Papad. If Lijjat is successful today, women have played a very pivotal role in it and they are the biggest beneficiaries.

Now, PM Shri Narendra Modi is doing an historic job by materialising the vision of Sardar Patel by taking this successful cooperative movement to the grassroot level of the country.

Cooperative societies in the country

Today, there are more than 8 lakh 55 thousand registered societies in the country. There are more than 8.5 lakh credit cooperative societies. The number of non-loan cooperative societies is more than 60 lakhs. There are more than 17 National Cooperative Societies. The number of state level cooperative banks are 33 and the number of district level cooperative banks are 363. About 63 thousand Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) are working. In a way, there is a PACS in every 10th village and it is a huge achievement. PACS is a powerful medium for the welfare of farmers, therefore,strengthening PACS is the biggest priority of the Modi government.

Today, 29% of agricultural loans in the country are distributed through cooperative banks, 35% of fertilizers are distributed through them, 30% of cooperative institutions are producing fertilizers, 31% of the country’s total sugar production happening through these committees. Cooperative societies are making 20% procurement and production of milk, 13% procurement of wheat, 20% procurement of money and 21% work in the field of fishermen. Now the time has come when the Ministry of Cooperatives is setting new targets by erecting a strong structure on it.

Importance of cooperation

• It provides agricultural credit and funding to areas where state and private sectors access is least.
• It provides strategic inputs to the agriculture sector, thereby meeting the needs of consumers at subsidized rates.
• It is an organization of the poor who want to collectively solve their problems.
• It reduces class conflicts and social distances.
• It reduces the evils of bureaucracy and political factionalism.
• It removes obstacles to agricultural development.
• It creates a favourable environment for small and cottage industries.

Cooperative and Farmers’ welfare

Dur to the cooperatives farmers got enormous benefits. The farmer has to pay around Rs 270 for a urea bag. Its price is Rs 720 in Bangladesh, Rs 800 in Pakistan and Rs 2100 in China. In the last 9 years, the BJP government at the centre has spent more than Rs 10 lakh crore on fertilizer subsidy. In the last 9 years, more than 15 lakh crore rupees have been given to farmers by purchasing their produce at MSP. The government is spending around Rs 6.5 lakh crore every year on agriculture and farmers. Every year, on an average, the government is providing 50 thousand rupees to every farmer.

Today, under the dynamic leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi, our country is heading to become a developed and self-reliant country. The PM had told from the Red Fort that everyone’s efforts- ‘Sabka Prayas’ is necessary to achieve our goal. If we are the largest producer of milk and sugar in the world, the credit should go to the dairy cooperatives and our PM’s vision.

For the first time, the Modi government created a separate ministry, made provisions for a separate budget, strengthened the cooperative banks and to increase the strength of cooperatives also reduced the tax rates. Today, cooperatives are getting facilities like corporate sector. When it comes to the question of rapid development of the country or a self-reliant India or the welfare of farmers and rural India, PM Shri Narendra Modi always indicated towards the cooperatives and taken steps to strength the cooperatives. It seems, the vision of the Prime Minister will be materialised very soon and farmers’ and rural India’s progress will be possible through cooperatives.

(The writer is National President of BJP Kisan Morcha)