Harnessing Cooperative Opportunities-Institutional Development

Dr. Mahesh Kadam, Associate Professor, VAMNICOM, Pune
Dr. Mahesh Kadam, Associate Professor, VAMNICOM, Pune

Cooperative Ecosystem in NER

  • There are 102559 PACS from which, 72548 are viable and can be diverse business units/entities/common services centres in the NER to serve the stakeholders from the credit, business motives and employment generation too.

  • There are only 1525 Multi-State Cooperative Societies in NER, which have large potential and scope to be increased to make the cooperative ecosystem helpful to the stakeholders. Till dated, National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has released Rs. 3422107.78 lakhs to North East India for the development of agriculture, industry and services sectors through the cooperative ecosystem.

  • The State/Population Group-wise Number of Offices of State and Central Co-operative Banks in North East India are 10497 and 13101 which are serving the NER economy through Cooperative Credit System.

Source: Ministry of Cooperation, Govt. of India (ON3048), Reserve Bank of India. (ON2193)

“Strengthening Cooperative Movement in North-East region of India and deepening its reach up to the grassroots”

1. Development of Dairy and fisheries Sectors through the cooperative ecosystem.

The milk production in North Eastern Region has increased by 4.9% during 2019-20 when compared to 2018- 19, however, the per capita availability of milk is far below the ICMR recommendation. The present demand/consumption of milk and milk products of North Eastern Regions is met jointly by the local production and by the leading dairy cooperatives and private sectors dairies of the country.

The above challenges in the dairy sector can be fulfilled with newly formed amendments by the Ministry of Cooperation in steps to form at least one dairy cooperative in every village panchayat.

The Fisheries sector, production-wise comprises only 3.03 per cent of India's production serving livelihood opportunities to 25 million people in North East region of India. The NER has an enormous untapped potential in fisheries and its ecosystem. This can be fulfilled by the steps taken by the Ministry of Cooperation for the establishment of Fish cooperatives.

2. Development of the Agro-Horticulture Sector in the NER in areas identified for holistic development i.e. Palm Oil, Bamboo and Organic Horticulture:

There is immense potential for vertical and horizontal growth in the horticulture sector in the region. At present horticultural crops account for only 18.60% of cultivated area. This share is highest in Sikkim followed by Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Nagaland. There is a need to expand the area under horticultural crops, particularly in Assam, Mizoram and Nagaland where at present it is less than 20% of the cultivated area. In terms of its contribution to national production, the Region accounts for about 5.1% (fruits) and 4.5% of vegetables.

Henceforth Cooperatives in (agricultural and or forest) production, marketing, logistics, and value chain activities may be formed to aggregate the work, increase its efficacy and leads to the socio-economic wellbeing of the stakeholders.

3. Organic Ecosystem in NER and development through cooperatives:

The states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Tripura in North East India have a heritage of being organic. The North Eastern Region, or NER as it is commonly referred to, is stretched across 2.6 lakh sq km, or around 8% of India's total land area, and is home to 4% of India's population. The Sikkim State Co-operative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd. (SIMFED) was founded in 1983 as the state's top marketing organization with the mission of carrying out bulk marketing of agricultural and horticultural products, including significant cash crops, and distributing farm input through cooperatives.

The Sikkim State Co-operative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd. (SIMFED) will be a role model and can be replicated in other states of the North East Region of India.

4. Formation of National level Multi-State Cooperatives Societies in seeds, organic and export in NER

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Government of India approved the setting up of three cooperative societies under Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) Act, 2002. These societies would focus on exports, organic farming, and quality seeds, benefiting farmers. North East Region States can form such types of export, seed and organic societies in the states which are performing well in given parameters. For eg: Sikkim for organic and export societies, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam Seed base societies etc.

5. Tourism development through cooperatives

After, Agriculture, Tourism is the lifeline of the NER. The Tourism cooperatives will overcome the above challenges in the Tourism sector and lead to a win-win situation for the stakeholders working in it

6. Handloom Industry and cooperatives

The challenges in the handloom industry can be resolved by framing up the capacity building, training and enterprise setting cooperatives which can handhold the handloom ecosystem at every step from production to marketing of the handloom products. Every second person is directly or indirectly related to the handloom industry in NER. So an effective cooperative network and ecosystem will lead to the welfare of the community. Sericulture Industry and handloom industry are two wheels of the NER economies which reach income generation activities at the grass root level.

G.BAMBOO Cooperatives

Bamboo has become the lifestyle of the North East region's people. The livelihood of commercial businesses and cultural activities directly depends on the bamboo scenic platform. So, to preserve, rear, encourage and innovate the bamboo ecosystem, bamboo cooperatives can play a very important role. Social (Cooperative) and Economical (Bamboo and bamboo-related activities) will go hand in hand in the Cooperatve+Bamboo ecosystem. Henceforth Bamboo Cooperatives can be formed to rejuvenate the socioeconomic lifestyle of NER people through Bamboo Cooperatives.

The visionary cycle benefits for the NER stakeholders will be created by their own people through the cooperative ecosystem. The amendments of the Ministry of Cooperation for cooperatives if channelized in a better way, will lead to social, economic, political and global stability of the NER. The region will be forefront player in South East Asia in all dogmas of the regime through cooperative handholding moves.

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