The Centre has launched computerisation programmes for agriculture and rural development banks (ARDBs) and offices of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS) at an estimated cost of ₹225 crore.

Speaking at the launch event on Tuesday, Cooperation Minister Amit Shah said that digitisation efforts will help improve efficiency, transparency and accountability in the working of ARDBs and offices of RCS.

Improve efficiency

The minister said that the computerisation projects will modernise and enhance the efficiency of the cooperative sector by standardising business procedures through a Common Accounting System (CAS) and Management Information System (MIS) and bringing the entire ecosystem on a digital platform.

Shah said the plan is to link these ARDBs to PACSs to facilitate long-term loans to farmers smoothly. The computerisation of 63,000 PACS has been going on under the supervision of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard). Out ₹225 crore, as much as ₹95 crore has been earmarked for the computerisation of RCS offices and remaining for ARDBs.

Stressing that long-term finance is a necessity to modernise the agriculture sector, he said after computerisation, ARDBs will be able to help farmers get both medium and long-term loans.

Under the first phase, 1,851 branches of ARDBs, currently present in 13 states, will be computerised and linked to Nabard through common software. He suggested expansion of ARDBs to other states as well.

Once computerisation is done, RCS offices will function paperless and will be in a better position to implement the cooperative laws and regulations.

The ministry has already finalised the National Cooperative Database, containing data from more than 8 lakh cooperative societies, and it will be launched soon and made available to all stakeholders.

The launch of computerisation projects for ARDBs and offices of RCS of States and Union Territories was organised by Ministry of Cooperation in partnership with National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).