Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that co-operatives can convert an ordinary system related to daily life into a huge industry system. He also launched the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector with an investment of over ₹1.25 lakh crore.

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In an event to launch multiple key initiatives for the Cooperative sector, the Prime Minister explained that a large task can be accomplished if smaller resources are put together and said that this model was followed in the ancient system of villages in India. “Cooperatives were the foundations of India’s Atmanirbhar society. It is not just any system, but a belief, a spirit”, PM Modi remarked, highlighting that this spirit of cooperatives is beyond the boundaries of systems and resources and produces exceptional results. “It has the potential to convert an ordinary system related to daily life into a huge industrious system, and a proven result of the changing face of the rural and agricultural economy,” Modi said.

As part of a pilot project for the ‘World’s Largest Grain Storage Plan in the Cooperative Sector’,  he inaugurated 11 godowns in primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) in as many states. Under the programme, 700 lakh tonne of storage capacity will be created over the next five years in the cooperative sector. He also laid the foundation for creating godowns and other agri infrastructure in 500 more PACS. “Today we have launched the world’s largest storage scheme for our farmers. Under this, thousands of warehouses and godowns will be constructed across the country,” he said.

Modi also emphasised on the importance of bringing transparency in the election system in cooperatives, saying this would encourage more participation of people in the cooperative movement. The Prime Minister talked about various initiatives taken by the government in the last 10 years for the growth of the cooperative sector as part of its vision of “Sahakar se Samridhi”, and specifically highlighted the creation of a specific ministry for the cooperative sector.

Modi also said the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act has been amended and PACS are being computerised. The Prime Minister also inaugurated a project for computerisation of 18,000 PACS across the country.

Referring to farmer producer organisations (FPOs), Modi said small farmers are becoming entrepreneurs and even exporting their produce. “We had set a target of establishing 10,000 FPOs. We have already set up 8,000 FPOs. Their success is being discussed at the global level now. Fishery and animal husbandry sectors are also benefiting from the cooperatives,” he said.

To make India self-reliant, he suggested that cooperatives should make a list of items that India imports and plan an action to produce or manufacture them locally. He said cooperative organisations can help reduce import of edible oils, fertilisers and crude oil. “Our fuel import has to be reduced. In ethanol, we are working in a big way. Ethanol production has increased significantly,” Modi said.

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Earlier, Cooperation Minister Amit Shah said the world’s largest grain storage scheme would help create capacities for storing 100 per cent of India’s grain production. He also said that the computerisation of 30,000 more PACS would be completed soon before the forthcoming general elections. This is part of the government’s efforts to realise the vision of “Sahakar se Samridhi” for rejuvenating the cooperative sector and empowering small and marginal farmers. The project for the computerisation of 65,000 PACS has been approved with a financial outlay of more than ₹2,500 crore.