CO-OP leaders have criticised deputy Prime Minister LK Advani's remarks that the co-operative model is no longer suitable to compete in the era of liberalisation.
Opening the 7th Asia-Pacific Co-operative Ministers conference he said that co-ops are under pressure to compete in foreign and domestic markets and need to modernise and develop professional skills.
Co-ops, he said, are seen as the institutional means for farm and rural development through credit and extension support. International Co-operative Alliance president Ivano Barberini said, "A co-operative enterprise has the same needs as other types of companies."
? Indian Express, Bombay
Despite recent murmurs of a possible shutdown, members say things are looking up for the Mifflin Street Co-op, which celebrated its 35th birthday with a store party.
It was slightly more than two months ago that co-op members, lamenting business woes brought on by last summer's Johnson Street reconstruction and a slow cash flow that made it hard to keep shelves stocked, considered shuttering the food co-operative that been in business since 1969.
But since November, a vote to remain open and a restructuring that puts more of an emphasis on volunteer labour, marketing and community outreach has led to a shift of fortunes for Mifflin
? Captial Times News, Wisconsin
With a view to making the co-operative sector more competitive, State Co-operative minister Gopal Bhargava is working towards creating a more commercialised set-up,
The days of cumulative efforts to shore up and strengthen society through the co-op sector are over and the sector needs to be developed to bring profits and quality assurances to be competitive in the open market, the minister is reported to have said.
"Amul in Gujarat is a live example of the commercialised co-operative sector. Adhering to the basic co-op principals, the sector could still come up and face open competition. The government cannot protect the co-op produce market forever, the sector must find buyers on the basis of right pricing and quality of produce to match the competitive products in the market", he added.
"State government could relax taxes, but quality has to come from the sector or they will not create a market for their produce and no one in the private sector will be attracted to them."
? Central Chronicle, India
Malaysia's new policy
The Government has launched a policy to transform the Co-op Movement into a catalyst for economic growth.
The Prime Minister said the policy contained strategies that would make the sector another catalyst of growth besides the private and public sectors.Â
"The National Co-operative Policy is a framework and guide to explain the scope of support from the Government to co-operatives to fulfil their objectives and succeed. Â
"Though it will help, it also requires commitment of all leaders and contributors," he said.
? The Star, Malaysia