|Two events or rather actions that have not been given due merit by the media by and large are the formation of the Ministry of cooperation and the second one is PM Modi’s announcement to initiate E-Rupi. IN the recent cabinet reshuffle the govt announced a new ministry of cooperation headed by HM Amit Shah. A media release from the Press Information Bureau said the Ministry of Cooperation will provide a separate administrative legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country. “It will help deepen Co-operatives as a true people-based movement reaching up to the grassroots. In our country, a Co-operative based economic development model is very relevant where each member works with a spirit of responsibility. The Ministry will work to streamline processes for ‘Ease of doing business’ for co-operatives and enable the development of Multi-State Co-operatives (MSCS),” it said.
Amul and Lijjat Papad are two of the most successful cooperative organizations in the country that demonstrate the power of cooperative organizations where the poor become part of the setup and are able to reap proportionately benefit through the same.
A few days back PM Modi also launched the E-Rupi. e-RUPI — a one-time cashless and contactless payment mechanism — launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strengthen the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme has the potential to boost digital transactions among micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well. E-RUPI, which has been launched to enable “person and purpose-specific” transfer of money under DBT schemes of the Ministry of Health, to begin with, will essentially help the government or an organization with amount transfer to the beneficiary’s mobile phone (including feature phones) through a QR code or an SMS for only a particular purpose, for instance, vaccination of employees, instead of his/her bank account. Merchants would be able to accept the code or SMS without any app or card intervention or even internet banking through e-RUPI developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
Both these announcements and statements are critical in the national interest and its important that the citizens and all others must know about it. The ministry of Cooperation will be providing much-needed support to the cooperative movement in the country. The new ministry is created to realize the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (Prosperity through cooperatives). In Hindi, the Ministry of Cooperation is known as ‘Sahakarita Mantralaya’. A Co-operative based economic development model in our country is very important, where each member works with a spirit of responsibility. The Central Government with the creation of the Ministry of cooperation has signaled its deep commitment to community-based developmental partnership. It envisages deepening Co-operatives as a true people-based movement reaching up to the grassroots. The ministry will work to streamline processes for ‘Ease of doing business’ for co-operatives and enable the development of Multi-State Cooperatives (MSCS).
The benefits of the Cooperative movement are large and need a further boost to make them more popular. Through the ministry, the government will be able to streamline the cooperative organizations, with better technical support and market access facilities
IN line with the Ministry of cooperation the E-Rupi initiative will also make sure that the government’s benefits to the citizens reach directly to the beneficiary. e-RUPI is a QR code or SMS string-based e-voucher, which is delivered to the mobile of the beneficiaries. ‘e-RUPI can be issued by a government or by corporates to their employees for targeted use as it only allows purchase from merchant outlets, but does not permit direct cash-out or peer-to-peer transfer,” said Mihir Gandhi – Partner & Leader – Payments Transformation, PwC India. These vouchers are like e-gift cards, which are prepaid in nature. The code of the cards can be shared either via SMS or the OR code can be shared. These e-vouchers will be person and purpose-specific. Even if one does not have a bank account or a digital payment app or a smartphone can benefit from these vouchers. InfrasoftTech provides an e-RUPI technology stack to banks by helping them in implementing the technology – right from integration with the existing systems to deployment as per their target beneficiaries. Currently, it is working with two of the 11 live banks as per NPCI. It is shortly adding more client banks with e-RUPI features.
Both these actions will play a major role in the cooperative movement and DBT schemes of the government. These are some of the policy issues and actions that were missing for years. After the initial thrust towards cooperative movement, the country did not focus on the same and hence the sector became a laggard. Together with attention on MSME/SMSE and cooperative movement the government is moving on the right lines where the poor and common man can benefit rather than the big and large corporations. The E Rupi will be a game-changer in the whole ecosystem which is being developed and pushed by the government. It is only through such actions and policies that PM Modi’s announcement to multiply Farmer’s income can come true. Though this may take time but by initiating actions on these lines the government has made its intention pretty clear.
Societies came into existence when the farmers of Poona (now Pune) and Ahmednagar led unsettlement against the moneylenders who were charging exorbitant rates of interest. This is when the British Government proffered and passed 3 acts namely the Deccan Agricultural Relief Act (1879), the Land Improvement Loan Act (1883), and the Agriculturists Loan Act (1884). In 1903, with the support of the Government of Bengal, the first credit cooperative society was formed in banking. With the enactment of the Cooperative Credit Society in 1904, it got a definite shape. It was registered under the Friendly Societies Act of the British Government.
Under the cooperative movement, the need for profitability is balanced by the needs of the members and the wider interest of the community. Problems are solved collectively by the organization of the poor. It creates a conducive environment for small and cottage industries.
Formed for the mutual benefit of all the members, the cooperative movement is a joint collective effort by all members. Working together has better bargaining power. Social Splits and class conflicts are reduced. It provides agricultural credits and funds where state and private sectors have not been able to do very much. It provides strategic inputs for the agricultural sector. Consumer societies meet their consumption requirements at concessional rates. Deals better with the agricultural development constraints. It reduces the bureaucratic evils and follies of political factions.
According to the Cooperative Societies Act, 1912, at least 10 adult members are needed to form a Cooperative Society solely based on mutual aid and self-help principles. The members should work for a common benefit with a motive to help each other. India has a history of successful cooperative movements. India is an agricultural country and laid the foundation of the World’s biggest cooperative movement in the world. Cooperatives in India were formally introduced through the Cooperative credit Societies Law enacted by the British government in 1904 to provide relief to Indian peasants from the clutches of money lenders. It enabled the formation of an ‘agricultural credit cooperative’ under government sponsorship in India. There have been many success stories of Cooperatives in India, the two most important being –Green Revolution and the White Revolution
Dr. Asheesh Shah