The government has to expand cooperatives but there is no database, Amit Shah said, adding that the ministry too is creating a national level database of different categories of cooperatives.
Union home and cooperation minister, Amit Shah today launched the onboarding of cooperatives on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal, today in New Delhi. The program was organised by the Ministry of Cooperation, the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) and GeM was also attended by union minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal, union minister of state for cooperation and North East Region Development B L Verma and the NCUI President Dilip Sanghani.
Amit Shah said that the launch of the GeM for cooperatives coincides with the start of the Quit India Movement in 1942. He spoke of the potential of the cooperative sector and of the usefulness of the GeM portal for the expansion of Indian cooperatives.
Shah argued for cooperatives to begin preparing for registration for supply on GeM to increase their market as most government procurements take place through the GeM. So far, 589 cooperatives have been shortlisted as eligible for onboarding on GeM, he said, simultaneously appealing to the National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI) to expand marketing of cooperatives and for this there can be no better way than the GeM.
The cooperation minister said that the cooperatives sector has been neglected since Independence. But, he said, the present government is accelerating its expansion with historic reforms and modernization through some 25 to 30 initiatives.
The expansion that GeM has achieved is unimaginable, Amit Shah said. There are about 62,000 government buyers available on GeM and around 49 lakh sellers.
Lack of database
The government has to expand cooperatives but there is no database, Amit Shah said, adding that the ministry too is creating a national level database of different categories of cooperatives. Additionally, arrangements for training will also be made available.
Moreover, registration of an export house for cooperatives is also under way and this will provide a platform for export from cooperatives across the country. He hinted at radical changes are also being made in the Multistate Cooperative Act and spoke of the government’s decision to computerize all PACS.
Amit Shah said population size is a great advantage in an economy, because ultimately the population is also the market. He said that till 2014, India’s population was 130 crores and yet, the market was limited to 60 crore people, as 70 crore people did not have any purchasing capacity. 60 crore people worried about their next meal and other basic needs and generations went through the same ordeal. But the opening of bank accounts and the provision of gas cylinders, toilets, electricity, pure drinking water and food grains free of cost to the poor has, as a result, awakened the aspirations of these 60 crore people by fulfilling their basic needs and cooperatives have the potential to fulfil all these aspirations, he said.
“Today after fulfilling their primary needs, these people have ambitions to move ahead in life by earning more money and through cooperatives they can fulfil these ambitions,” the government agency, PIB quoted the minister as saying, adding that “if these 60 crore people have just Rs. 5,000, they can run the biggest of cooperatives.”
Second class treatment no longer
The cooperation minister said the cooperative model allows people with even limited capital to come together and undertake large tasks. He gave the example of Amul that has crossed a turnover of Rs. 60,000 crore and 20 lakh women members are not only running the cooperative, but have also been making profits for many years.
He said if a system does not change itself with the times, then it becomes outdated, and therefore it is necessary to improve the cooperative system for the expansion of the sector. India’s cooperative system is 115 years old, the laws are also very old, and though small changes have taken place from time to time, radical changes and modernisation have taken a backseat.
The cooperative sector can no longer be given second class treatment, he said, though, he also spoke of the need to bring about change and to move in the direction of bringing transparency and for cooperatives to prepare themselves for change. The GeM portal will be very useful in bringing in transparency in the cooperative sector and when there is transparency, the trust of farmers and milk producers will also increase on the committees and their members.
He said he government brought in transparency in government procurement by introducing the GeM portal. In the same breath, he spoke of the need for transparency in three areas within cooperatives – elections, recruitment and purchase. He said that there can be no better medium than the GeM to bring transparency in procurement, saying that the world will recognise this successful model of transparent government procurement in the next five years.