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Sahakara Bharati to set up 1,000 cooperative societies

By Our Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE, JAN. 8. Sahakara Bharati, a national-level non-governmental organisation working in the cooperative sector, plans to set up 1,000 cooperative institutions across the country next year.

Its plans for the next three years include strengthening the organisations and holding public awareness rallies about the cooperative sector at 1,000 places in the country under its banner in 2006.

The newly elected General Secretary of Sahakara Bharati, Konkodi Padmanabha, told presspersons here on Thursday that there was an urgent need to strengthen the cooperative movement in India. Cooperative institutions could play a pivotal role in safeguarding the economic interests of the nation at a time when the economy was subjected to various pressures, he said.

Mr. Padmanabha regretted that despite the involvement of more than 25 crore people in the movement, it had not succeeded to flourish for various reasons. The politicisation of the movement was one of the prime reasons for its failure, he said and added that the domination of the bureaucracy had also contributed to its downfall. He said government control at every stage had stifled its growth. A paucity of honest members, who would respond to the needs of the sector, had also hurt the interest of the movement, he said and added that the failure of the sector to adapt itself to latest technological changes had proved to be another setback.

The failure of the State Governments in implementing liberalised laws that would assist the sector had proved detrimental to the interests of the cooperative movement, he added. Sahakara Bharati had positioned itself as a major force in the sector and was working towards addressing the lacunas affecting its growth. The organisation had established its units in all the States in the country, he said. It had drawn up an extensive reorganisation plan at the all-India conference of cooperative institutions held in Mumbai in December and during the "Cooperation centenary" observed in March 2004.

He said his organisation would pressure State Governments to implement the liberalised Cooperative Act during the three-year tenure of the new office-bearers elected at the Mumbai convention.

He claimed that as a result of sustained pressure by Sahakara Bharati, nine State Governments, including Karnataka, had enforced the Act.

Mr. Padmanabha expressed reservations about the Souharda Cooperative Act implemented by the State Government. Noting that many cooperative institutions had been registered under this Act, he said those who had already registered with the Department of Cooperation under the previous Act were also inclined to adopt the new Act.

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