If we need to strengthen the cooperatives we should do away with the obsolete acts and norms, said Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur. In cooperative sector the legal ambiguities and norms were required to be modified or replaced and assured that the State Government after receiving suggestions would bring about certain changes in the Act and provisions, he said.He was presiding over the one day State Level Cooperative Conference with the theme ‘Challenges and Scope in 21st Century’, organised by the Department of Cooperatives at Solan today.He said that Himachal need to be given fillip to the cooperative sector and make it growth and profit oriented. He said that though the State was doing well in agriculture and horticulture sectors setting a role model for other states, but in few sectors we need to follow the other states who have excelled in various fields through cooperatives. He said that although Himachal Pradesh has pioneered the Cooperative movement, but it was unfortunate that we were still lagging behind.The unemployment which is a biggest challenge can be addressed through strengthening our cooperative societies, said the Chief Minister.We should not feel hesitant in accepting our weakness and few suggestion and hard work can help sail the cooperatives into profit which would help in raising socio-economic status of the people of the state, he said.The Chief Minister said that the outcome of such conferences should pave the way for effective implementation of the cooperative societies.If all political parties come together for a common cause it would certainly help in development of the State, he said, adding that he wishes Himachal to surge ahead in the cooperative sector.The Chief Minister said that agriculture and horticulture sector were the priority of the Government and we need to set up more processing units, create more infrastructure so as to help in sustaining longer shelf-life of the produce, which in turn would help the farmers.
He said that cooperatives can also play a pivotal role to boost tourism and he was looking forward for suggestions as how to go for it.Social Justice and Empowerment and Cooperative Minister Dr. Rajeev Saizal while addressing on the occasion the said that the first national Cooperative was started in Panjawar village of Una district in 1892 and stressed for removal of impediments and make the State the leading one in the country in the field of cooperatives.He said that there were many challenges and lot more was to be done in making the movement reach every hamlet of the State and make it more successful. He said that unemployment was a big issue which needs to be addressed. We need to ponder upon as to why few societies were facing closure, he said adding that there was a vast scope of various activities to be undertaken by cooperatives right from fisheries, floriculture, bee keeping, tourism, hydel, diary, banking etc. He said that the Department will target districts to launch cooperative movement in an effective manner soon.Dr. Satish Marathe, a well known name in bringing reforms in cooperatives, who is also a Patron of Sahakar Bharati, said that efforts were afoot to instil new lease of life into cooperatives. He said as many as 8.50 lakhs cooperatives societies were registered in the country with total membership of more than 28 crore. He said that the Indian cooperative movement was the largest in the world. Almost 100 percent villages were having cooperative societies being run by the people, he said. He said that the cooperatives contribute in a big way to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), said Marathe besides he also highlighted various obstacles impeding the growth of this sector.
Dr. Marathe said that the income earning opportunities, which were supposed to get through cooperatives, were not finding favour in our country because of quite a few challenges.He said it was unfortunate that the cooperatives could not penetrate deep in manufacturing and service sector and has confined itself to diary, agricultural and few other sectors. He said that the farmers were not going to benefit merely by increasing support prices. The need for the hour was to set up small mobile processing units for optimum gains in agro sector, he added.Secretary Cooperatives Dr. R.N Batta, said that the in furtherance of the Chief Ministers 100 day’s agenda this conference would help to seek the views of those associated with the Cooperative movement, so as to make it more effective. As many as 500 delegates participated in the conference from across the State. He said that as much as 22 lakh people were directed associated with the cooperative societies and there was 15 percent growth rate annually. He said that there were 4875 cooperatives societies in the State and counts to employment to around 10 Lakh. The total assets of cooperatives were around Rs 34408 crore, he said.He also urged for bringing about changes or replaces the obsolete Acts and rules for ease of doing business and for providing incentives for innovations. He said that the major challenge was that of 21 st century Information Technology (IT) revolution and we have to adopt the technology, provided we need highly professional manpower. Besides, we need to tap the untapped potential by providing systemic training.Member of Parliament Shri Virender Kashyap also spoke on the occasion.MLA Shri Paramjit Singh (Pammi) Shri K.L. Thakur, State Organisational Secretary Shri Pawan Rana, Chairperson State Women Commission Dr. Daisy Thakur, Vice Chairman Khadi Board Shri Purshottam Guleria, BJP Mahila Morcha National Vice President Miss Rashim Dhar Sood, State BJP Spokesperson Miss Ritu Sethi, State BJP Secretary Shri Rattan Singh Pal, Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of Nagar Parishad Solan were also present on the occasion amongst others.