After putting the rural economy in trouble by banning district central cooperative (DCC) banks from exchanging demonetised currency over fears of being misused for parking unaccounted money, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has now admitted that it has no details of any irregularities or scams occurring in the DCC banks one month since demonetisation. The RBI accepted this in an RTI reply sought by activist Anil Galgali.
Five days after demonetisation announcement, the RBI on November 13 had abruptly prohibited DCC banks and cooperative credit societies from doing exchanging currency. The RBI justified the move saying that these institutions can be used for parking unaccounted money.
Galgali had sought information under the RTI query on the extent of irregularities committed by the DCC banks and state cooperative bank between November 8 and December 10, 2016.
The reply given by AG Ray, public information officer, RBI, said the information sought on district and apex bodies was not available with him. While data on urban cooperative banks could be obtained from other department, Ray said in the reply, dated January 9.
The ban directly hit millions of farmers as the DCC banks and credit societies were facing liquidity crisis. “The information was sought to expose irregularities in DCC banks but it seems that RBI has no data of a single case. This has forced me to question whether RBI has taken its decision on DCC banks on mere heresay?” Galgali asked.
HT’s queries to the RBI did not get any response. The co-operative movement in Maharashtra is nourished by a three-tier co-operative credit structure, at the helm of which is the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank, the apex body for all DCC Banks. DCC Banks at the middle level and at the bottom network of over 21,085 Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS). There are around 48 lakh borrowers of crop loan from DCC Banks alone while members of PACS are around 1.14 crore, majorly farmers. The total amount deposited at the credit societies is more than Rs 24,000 crore.