Indian government sets up Ministry of Co-operation

The ministry will focus on the development of multi-state co-operatives

Co-operatives will have a designated minister in India, in a decision announced by the Modi government on 6 July.

According to the government, the Ministry of Co-operation will be responsible for providing “a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the co-operative movement in the country”.

The ministry will also work to boost co-operative development and “streamline processes for ‘ease of doing business’ for co-operatives and enable development of Multi-State Co-operatives (MSCS)”.

It will aim to realise the vision of ‘Sahkar se Samriddhi’ (prosperity through co-operatives), added the statement.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced in her union budget speech two weeks ago that the government was committed to the development of multi-state co-operatives. “To further streamline the ease of doing business for cooperatives, I propose to set up a separate administrative structure for them,” she said.

Following a cabinet reshuffle, Amit Shah, who served as the minister of home affairs, has been given the role of minister of co-operation. Mr Shah met with representatives from the co-operative sector on 10 July, including the chair of the National Cooperative Union of India, Dileep Sanghani; the chair and the managing director of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) ,B S Nakai and U S Awasthi respectively; and the chair of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), Bijender Singh.

“Under the leadership of Modi ji, we are determined to make co-operatives and all co-operative institutions more empowered,” Mr Shah said in Hindu on Twitter.

Some members of the opposition have questioned the move, arguing that most co-operatives are already regulated at state level and multi-state level co-ops are governed by the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act of 2002.