“Cooperatives Should Become Carriers Of Policies, Not Politics”: PM Modi


New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said cooperatives should be the conveyor and carrier of social and national policies as opposed to being a vehicle of politics.

Addressing the 17th Indian Cooperative Congress on Saturday, PM Modi said, “Cooperatives will soon emerge as a powerful economic backbone of a new India. We need to help villages achieve self-sufficiency by following a cooperative model. Cooperatives should become the carrier of social and national policies as opposed to being an object of politics.”

The remark assumes significance in the context of the political tussle over the Nandini Milk Cooperative in Karnataka, with the Congress accusing the BJP-led Centre of driving the local dairy giant out of business by opening the market to Amul.

The Congress even made it a key plank for the recent Assembly elections.
Inaugurating the 17th Indian Cooperative Congress at International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC) in the national capital, PM Modi also launched the NCUI Haat portal.

The main theme of the 17th Indian Cooperative Congress was ‘Amrit Kaal: Prosperity through Cooperation for a Vibrant India’.

PM Modi also launched an e-commerce website for cooperative marketing, and cooperative extension and advisory services portal.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who also handles the Union Ministry of Cooperatives, also attended the event.

During his address, Prime Minister Modi dwelt at length on the measures undertaken for the farmer’s welfare over the last 9 years.

PM Modi said as opposed to scant support to farmers in the past and rampant exploitation by middlemen, crores of foodgrain growers across the country were now getting the benefits of the Centre’s flagship Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme transferred directly into their bank accounts.

“Over the last 4 years, Rs 2.5 lakh crore under this scheme were transferred to the farmers’ accounts in a transparent manner. Rs 2.5 lakh crore is a big amount if we consider the cumulative budgetary outlay for the agriculture sector over 5 years before 2014 (under the Congress-led UPA), which was less than Rs 90,000 crore. The amount transferred to farmers’ accounts over the last 4 years under a single scheme is, thus, more than three times the total agriculture budget of over five years (before 2014),” PM Modi said.

He said while a farmer in India presently pays about Rs 270 for a bag of urea, the same is priced at Rs 720 in Bangladesh, Rs 800 in Pakistan, Rs 2,100 in China and Rs 3,000 (all in Indian currency) in the US.

“This shows how a guarantee is fulfilled and the efforts that go into changing the lives of farmers,” PM Modi said, adding that in the last 9 years, more than Rs 10 lakh crore have been spent on fertiliser subsidies alone.

Underlining the Centre’s commitment to providing farmers with the right price for their produce, Prime Minister Modi said his government bought their produce at an increased MSP (Minimum Support Price) and handed out more than Rs 15 lakh crores to farmers in the last 9 years.

“On average, our government is spending more than Rs 6.5 lakh crores yearly on the agriculture sector and farmers”, Modi said, adding, “The government is making sure that every farmer in the country receives about Rs 50,000 every year in some way or the other.”

Further underscoring the farmers’ welfare approach of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, PM Modi informed the audience of the recent package of Rs 3,70,000 crore for farmers and the provision of fair and remunerative prices for sugarcane growers at Rs 315 per quintal.

“This will directly benefit 5 lakh sugarcane farmers and people working in sugar mills,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi also touched upon other measures of enhancing farmer’s income such as honey production, organic foods, solar panels, and soil testing and emphasized the need for support from the cooperative sector. He also mentioned the recent PM-PRANAM scheme in the context of chemical-free farming which aims to propagate chemical-free farming and promote the use of alternative fertilizers. This too, he stressed, will need the support of cooperatives. He asked the cooperative to adopt 5 villages in every district for ensuring no use of chemicals in agriculture.

Driven by the Prime Minister’s firm belief in the vision of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi’, the government has continuously been taking steps to boost the cooperative movement in the country.

A separate Ministry of Cooperation was created by the government to give strength to this endeavour.

The 17th Indian Cooperative Congress is aimed at discussing various trends in the cooperative movement, showcasing best practices being adopted, deliberating challenges being faced and chalking out future policy direction for the growth of India’s cooperative movement. There will be seven technical sessions on the main theme of ‘Amrit Kaal: Prosperity through Cooperation for a Vibrant India’.

The event will see the participation of more than 3,600 stakeholders, including cooperatives from the primary level to the national level, delegates of International Cooperative Organisations, representatives of the International Cooperative Alliance, and representatives of Ministries, Universities, and eminent institutions, among others.

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