New co-operative development schemes and tax cuts for co-ops in India

New funding has also been allocated to the Union Cooperation Ministry

The Indian government has announced new schemes to strengthen the country’s co-operatives, including tax cuts.

Announcing some of the measures on 2 February, cooperation minister Amit Shah said his ministry would focus on increasing transparency and modernisation in the sector as part of a new national cooperation policy, to be developed in collaboration with state governments.

Co-op will also benefit from a cut in the alternate minimum tax (AMT) from 18.5% to 15%, and the surcharge from 12% to 7%.

In her budget speech, finance minister Nirmla Sitharaman said the rate reduction would “provide a level playing field between co-operative societies and companies”.

The central government allocated a 2022 budget of Rs 900 crore (£88m) to the ministry, set up last year to boost the co-operative sector.

Around Rs 350 crore (£34m) of this will go to the digitalisation of 63,000 primary agricultural co-opin the agriculture sector. A total of Rs 274 (£27m) crore will also be allocated to fund a nationwide co-operative development programme called Prosperity through Cooperatives.

Another Rs 30 crore (£2.9m) will be allocated for co-operative education and Rs 25 crore (£2.4m) will go towards co-operative training.

The Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (Vamnicom) will receive Rs 11 crore (£1.08m) in funding and the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies will get Rs 10.90 crore (£1.07m).

Vamnicom director Hema Yadav told Indiancooperative it was the first time the institution was allocated a separate budget, a decision she labelled as “a welcomed step”.