Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Friday launched the National Cooperative Database and stressed that it would help in policy making. Pointing out that as many as 25 per cent of gram panchayats do not have a single PACS, Shah blamed imbalanced growth led to the decline in cooperative sector after 1975.

“After the separate cooperation ministry was carved out of the agriculture ministry (two years back), some people had deliberated on the reasons for the downfall of the cooperative sector. It was found that the growth in cooperative sector was stagnant after 1965 and started declining from 1975 onwards,” Shah said.

Imbalance growth

Further, he pointed out that several district cooperative banks had to wind up, many PACS went bankrupt in last many years. According to Shah, there was imbalanced growth, not only geographically, bot also there was imbalance growth across various segments in the cooperative structure itself. “There was imbalance in its functionality and also community-based development,” he added.

The minister also said that 75 per cent of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) are affiliated with any district cooperative bank while 25 per cent remaining are still to be connected. The National Database has collected information of about 8 lakh cooperatives, majority of them PACS or primary societies, with collective membership of nearly 30 crore.

Shah said that the database would help in promoting the expansion of the cooperative sector. “Such valuable information is there that if one takes a deep inside, one will come come out with a pearl,” he said adding the information will be highly valuable for not only policy makers, but also for researchers.

Phased manner

The data of cooperatives was collected on the National Cooperative Database in a phased manner from the various stakeholders. In the first phase, mapping of about 2.64 lakh primary cooperative societies of three sectors -- PACS, Dairy and Fisheries -- was completed.

In the second phase, data of various National Federations, State Federations, State cooperative banks (StCB), District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs), Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs), State Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (SCARDB), Primary Cooperative Agriculture and Rural Development Bank (PCARDB), Cooperative Sugar Mills, District Unions and Multi State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) were collected. In the third phase, data of more than 5.3 lakh primary cooperative societies including PACS was mapped from all the remaining other sectors through the office of different state government agencies including from district registrars.

Shah said that it is not only a compilation, nut the data of cooperative societies have been validated by States and union territories. Data of federations have been provided by various national andn state federations. The information collected from cooperative societies are on various parameters such as their registered name, date, location, number of members, sectoral information, area of operation, economic activities, financial statements and status of audit.

National Cooperative Database offers a myriad of benefits that contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the cooperative sector like single point access, comprehensive and updated data, user-friendly interface, vertical and horizontal linkages, query-based reports and graphs, Management Information System (MIS) reports, data analytics and Geographical Mapping, an official statement said.