World News | ‘Naya JK’ bears witness to the revival of the cooperative movement

Jammu and Kashmir [India]Jun 7 (ANI): In a bid to cater to the development needs of the underprivileged sections of society and make Jammu and Kashmir Atma-Nirbhar, the Union Territory has witnessed a revival of the cooperative movement in the past two years.

In 2017, out of 3,000 cooperative societies, only 988 were functioning in Jammu and Kashmir while the rest had disappeared. The eighteen central cooperative banks of the former state did not have a license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as a sum of Rs 313 crore was required to restore them. No elections were held for primary cooperative societies in Kashmir due to the unrest. In a word, the cooperative societies of Jammu and Kashmir were in the doldrums.

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The process of reorganizing the cooperative societies in Jammu and Kashmir started shortly after August 5, 2019 – when the Center announced its decision to repeal the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two territories of the Union – Union Home Affairs and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah stressed the need to ensure that cooperative societies in Jammu and Kashmir get a break from the changed setup.

The process of reviving cooperative societies in the Himalayan region has been a daunting task, but the constant efforts of the government have breathed new life into this sector.

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On May 30, 2022, an important step was taken towards revamping the financial health of cooperative banks, the government of Jammu and Kashmir infused Rs 366 crore for the recapitalization of three district central cooperative banks in the territory of The union.

The amount of the “recapitalization package” was released and transferred to Jammu Central Cooperative Bank, Anantnag Cooperative Bank and Baramulla Central Cooperative. These banks were de-licensed by the Reserve Bank of India under the Banking Regulation Act, as their liquidity situation was already bad enough due to the erosion of their assets.

For other defunct cooperative banks, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has requested a rejuvenation scheme of Rs 238 crore from the Center and the requisition in this regard has already been passed on.

Over the past year, the Cooperative Department of Jammu and Kashmir has released Rs 280 lakh for the upgrading of Super Bazaars in the Union Territory. These have also been introduced to the GeM portal and run their business professionally.

The proposal to establish a Super Bazaar in each district of Jammu and Kashmir is almost finalized.

In 2021-2022, the Department of Cooperatives registered 64 agricultural producer organizations under its laws to revive the old cooperative societies of Jammu and Kashmir. It is for the first time in the past 70 years that the cooperative department of Jammu and Kashmir has achieved 100% end-to-end digitalization.

A departmental portal has been created for interested parties in order to register online within two to three months.

The ministry has created 91 vacancies for deputy registrars. The department has partnered with the National Development Cooperative Commission (NCDC) of New Delhi. The NCDC has so far sanctioned 35 poultry projects of various cooperative societies with an estimated cost of Rs 860.92 lakhs.

Audits of 859 cooperative societies were conducted in 2020-21 and 849 cooperative societies in 2021-22, while elections of about 70% of societies were held recently.

A comprehensive plan to get the cooperative societies back on track in Jammu and Kashmir is being implemented and the Union Ministry of Cooperatives is directly monitoring all operations.

Over the past two years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a revival of the cooperative movement to cater to the development needs of the underprivileged sections of society.

The administration of Jammu and Kashmir has made every effort to facilitate the development of new women and youth cooperatives and provide them with a strong support system to thrive.

The cooperative movement is being transformed into a grassroots movement to reach grassroots citizens with the aim of making all cooperative institutions profitable enterprises.

The cooperative sector organizes itself in terms of production and added value so that its products can be competitive not only in the country but also on world markets.

The government is providing all possible support in each panchayat to increase the number of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies. This has dramatically increased lending in agriculture and related sectors. The benefits also accrue to small and marginal farmers.

Steps are being taken to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’, cooperatives in Jammu and Kashmir UT with a focus on agro-marketing, food processing, branding, supply of seeds and other innovative activities in dairy products and handicrafts.

The Mission Youth in Jammu and Kashmir works as a cooperative entrepreneurship organization and demonstrates how businesses with a cooperative spirit could lead the way in meeting modern challenges.

The new concept envisioned in “Naya Jammu and Kashmir” is not to confine the cooperatives to only businesses or lending credits, an ordinary man is involved to make Jammu Kashmir Atam-Nirbhar (self-sufficient). The aim is to protect and promote the social and economic rights of every individual.

In the past, cooperative societies were considered the most credible means of socio-economic development of farmers, rural populations, workers in the unorganized sector and women.

The current dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir is trying its best to meet the needs of rural and other areas. New cooperative societies are emerging and the old societies that disappeared before August 5, 2019 are being reborn.

The government focuses on at least 20 sectors of the rural system such as cottage industries, agriculture and related activities.

Department of Cooperatives of Jammu and Kashmir inspires young entrepreneurs to come forward to develop their projects on the line of IFFCO – a farmer-owned fertilizer cooperative sown on Indian soil, contributing immensely to make India self-sufficient in the production of food grains.

Amul, a world renowned milk producers cooperative, and Krishak Bharti Cooperative Limited (KRIBHCO) as successful cooperatives that have secured a place in the top 10 cooperative institutions worldwide. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) is the vehicle for the development revolution, not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also in other parts of the country.

The Union Ministry for Cooperatives provides financial assistance of up to Rs 3 crore to newly formed cooperatives, especially innovative organizations through the “Yuva Sahakar – Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme”. Apart from that, if the institutions want to grow, the central government and NABARD also cooperate.

To integrate women into the cooperative movement in Jammu and Kashmir, sensitization camps are organized throughout the Union territory. They are informed of their role in the sector. Various programs for women are implemented for their welfare.

The Women Credit Cooperative Limited has been tasked with establishing micro-finance institutions at the village level and registration of cooperatives is done locally during sensitization campaigns. Instructions were given to officers to work at ground level to ensure that as many women as possible engage with the cooperatives department.

The department actively engages in the registration of cooperative/cooperative societies in different economic fields like agriculture and dairy products. Poultry, housing, floriculture, medical, education, consumer trade, banking, micro-credit, women’s empowerment, transportation, market gardeners, labor, etc.

Under moral aid, the government has entrusted the distribution of essential products and agricultural inputs to cooperative institutions, while under financial aid, the government contributes directly to the social capital of these institutions. It also provides generous financial support in the form of loans, grants, etc.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir has contributed more than Rs 3300 lakhs as social capital to different cooperative institutions across the union territory.

In “Naya Jammu and Kashmir”, stakeholders are receiving capacity building training to enable them to diversify their activities and contribute to the nation building process. (ANI)

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Virginia S. Braud