Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 11

A TASKFORCE appointed by the Government to suggest measures to revive cooperative credit institutions has suggested that the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development should help in implementing the Rs 15,000 crore financial package for the co-operative sector.

In its report which was submitted to the Government recently, the task force said to safeguard the resources being made available to cooperative entities, Nabard may be designated to carry out this task, both as pass through and implementing agency.

It has been recommended that Nabard be reimbursed all the costs involved in discharging these responsibilities.

In addition to providing the manpower necessary for conceptualising, guiding, handholding, monitoring and reporting on the initiative, Nabard will also implement the entire technical assistance package in collaboration with suitable partners.

The aggregate amount estimated under this head, therefore, has a certain overlap with technical assistance. However, bifurcating the costs on a notional basis, the taskforce estimates a support of Rs 360 crore to Nabard over a five-year period.

The task force has said that recapitalisation is the responsibility of the owners; i.e, the co-operative credits societies (CCS) and the state governments concerned and has also noted that committees prior to it have recommended the involvement of the Government of India on various grounds.

However, in view of the fact that historically the Union Government has played a significant role in the development of cooperatives and indeed mentored them over time, a moral responsibility also seems to be involved. Moreover, there is indeed, an urgent need to rapidly expand agricultural credit to boost productivity and production in the agricultural sector, the report has said.

Taking these factors into account, as well as the fact that only a strong CCS can play a major role towards this end, the Union Government needs to involve itself in the revival of the CCS in national interest.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 12, 2005)
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