dmpq-Discuss the significance of 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011 vis-à-vis Cooperative societies.

The co-operative sector, over the years, has made significant contribution to various sectors of national economy and has achieved voluminous growth. However, it has shown weaknesses in safeguarding the interests of the members and fulfilment of objects for which these institutions were organised. There have been instances where elections have been postponed indefinitely and nominated office bearers or administrators have remained in charge of these institutions for a long time. This reduces the accountability in the management of co-operative societies to their members. Inadequate professionalism in management in many of the co-operative institutions has led to poor services and low productivity.

Cooperatives need to run on well established democratic principles and elections held on time and in a free and fair manner. Therefore, there was a need to initiate fundamental reforms to revitalise these institutions in order to ensure their contribution in the economic development of the country and to serve the interests of members and public at large and also to ensure their autonomy, democratic functioning and professional management.

The “co-operative societies” is a subject enumerated in Entry 32 of the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and the state legislatures have accordingly enacted legislations on co-operative societies. Within the framework of State Acts, growth of co operatives on large scale was envisaged as part of the efforts for securing social and economic justice and equitable distribution of the fruits of development. It has, however, been experienced that in spite of considerable expansion of co-operatives, their performance in qualitative terms has not been up to the desired level. Considering the need for reforms in the Co-operative Societies Acts of the States, consultations with the State Governments have been held at several occasions and in the conferences of state co-operative ministers. A strong need has been felt for amending the Constitution so as to keep the co-operatives free from unnecessary outside interferences and also to ensure their autonomous organisational set up and their democratic functioning.

 

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