The Centre has identified over 1.24 lakh gram panchayats, where there is either no PACS or dairy cooperative or both, where it will accord top priority to facilitate setting up Multi-purpose Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (M-PACS) in the next two years.

Out of 2,69,364 gram panchayats in the country, there are 96,405 panchayats where there is neither any PACS nor any dairy cooperative found after the cooperation ministry undertook the effort to create a database, sources said. Additionally, there are 27,954 panchayats where the Ministry has found existence of a dairy cooperative but there is no PACS, the sources said.

Besides, there are 680 panchayats in coastal areas, where the Centre sees a potential to create fishery cooperatives as none exists there.

As the model byelaws was earlier circulated to States with a request to adopt it, the acceptance by them will help create more M-PACS in the country, for which the Centre has already made enabling provision for the grassroot cooperative societies to undertake several business activities. On Tuesday, it decided to allow 2,000 PACS to open Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras.

“Unless byelaws are amended, many of the existing PACS may not be able to expand their business even if the government allows them to do. For the new PACS to be set up, it is easier since all of them are expected to adopt the model byelaws,” an expert said. Many of the current PACS have specified areas of business mentioned in their byelaws and mostly are confined to credit and agricultural activities, the expert said.

Electronic workflow underway

Meanwhile, Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has reviewed progress of computerisation of office of Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS). After the formation of a separate Ministry of Cooperation in July 2021, number of steps have been taken to promote ease of doing business in cooperative sector and computerisation of office of the CRCS, which is responsible for the administration of Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) Act, 2002. A software and portal is being developed which is targeted to be launched by before June 26.

During the review meeting, Shah directed that youth should also be involved for better utilisation and improved analytics of the portal through competitions to be organised by CRCS office. The Computerisation project will greatly help in registration of new MSCS and facilitate working of existing MSCS, the ministry said in a statement.

The computerisation will transform the office of CRCS towards complete paperless submission and processing of applications, automatic compliance of the MSCS Act & Rules, digital communication and transparent processing.

The software will enable processing of application/ service requests through electronic workflow in the CRCS office in a time bound manner. This will have provisions for OTP-based user registration, validation checks for compliance with MSCS Act and Rules, hearing through video conferencing, issue of registration certificate and other communication electronically, the ministry said.