BJP to take on Congress-NCP in Maharashta’s cooperative sector
Under the Atal Sahakari Abhiyan, the government has set a target to create 3,500 cooperative societies, focused on small-scale businessmumbai Updated: Sep 09, 2018 00:42 IST
The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to make its presence felt in Maharashtra’s cooperative sector, hitherto dominated by the Congress and National Congress Party (NCP), by creating more than 3,000 societies backed with a government funding of ₹250 crore to run agricultural and milk processing units.
Under the Atal Sahakari Abhiyan, the government has set a target to create 3,500 cooperative societies, focused on small-scale business, by the end of the year and is also planning to organise seminars at the grassroots level to educate party workers.
So far, Maharashtra’s cooperative sector has been significant to the politics of the Congress-NCP combine, which has used its hold over the sector to boost its prospect in the state’s rural areas.
Cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh said, “We have been implementing the Atal Sahakar Abhiyan since December 2016 and have revived about 1,500 societies so far. Our aim is to form new 3,500 more such societies in the coming days. The mission is open to everyone and not restricted to any party or any specific class of the society. As of now, we do not have any allocation made for these societies, but may think of it in the future.”
The minister blamed the previous government for the 11,000 cooperative socies that have allegedly turned defunct. “Our aim is to revive the cooperative movement in the state as the previous government was interested only in cooperative banks and APMCs for their political gains,” Deshmukh said.
In an educational seminar organised at a city college on Wednesday — under the banner of Cooperation, Marketing and Textiles department — to apprise BJP workers about the scheme, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh addressed the gathering and set a target for forming the new cooperative societies by the end of this year.
As far as the ₹250-crore funding is concerned, the government plans to provide 50% of it as seed capital and 45% of it through soft loans from banks. Societies with an equity capital of up to ₹20 lakh will be considered for priority funding.
“There were about 450 party workers from across the state. We were guided to either form new societies by coming together or revive the existing societies to run cooperative societies. We were told to begin businesses in the agricultural sector, allied agricultural activities, food processing, dairy development among others. The finance minister said the government was framing a policy for soft loans and seed capital to these societies,” said a BJP worker from Parbhani, requesting the anonymity.
While addressing the workers, Mungantiwar said they should drive employment generation at the village level by reaping benefits of the scheme.
The BJP has been critical of the existing cooperative societies across sectors such as sugar, dairy, textiles, district cooperative banks and the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) which are controlled by the Congress and the NCP.
Earlier, APMCs were not allowed to sell agriculture produce outside their defined market areas. But under the present BJP government, the APMC Act was amended to remove that clause.
Some of the district cooperative banks, under the control of Congress-NCP, though allege that they are not being allowed to exchange ₹400 crore in demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, deposited after the time limit given by the Centre in 2016. Congress leader and former cooperation Minister Harshavardhan Patil said this obstacle is being created by the present government to suppress cooperative banks that are not under the ruling party’s control.
First Published: Sep 09, 2018 00:16 IST