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Cooperatives play an important role in the socio-economic development of the people of our country. The cooperative movement in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, has taken deep roots in various sectors and is making a significant contribution towards economic development and social progress of the people.
Tamil Nadu occupies an important place in the history of cooperatives since the first cooperative societies for agricultural oan and consumer stores were established in Tamil Nadu. The cooperative societies play a vital role not only in gricultural development and consumer service, but also in sectors such as housing, textiles, dairy and fisheries which contribute significantly to the economic development of the state. At present there are 25,768 cooperative societies functioning in the state.
The importance that this Government attaches to the cooperatives is evident from the fact that two out of the three sterling schemes of the government for which orders were issued by the Hon’ble Chief Minister in the presence of public on the very same day of assuming office on 13.05.2006 relate to the cooperation department. The order of the government waiving all cooperative farm loans and interest thereon outstanding as on 31.3.2006 amounting to Rs.6866 crores to provide debt relief to a large number of farmers who have suffered on account of successive natural calamities is an unprecedented step that no other government has done for the farmers. Similarly the scheme of distributing rice at Rs.2 per kg is implemented through 26,429 fair price shops run by the cooperatives. The government have entrusted the major responsibility of the successful implementation of these two schemes to the cooperatives and this reflects the faith that the government has on the role played by the cooperatives in the developmental process.
Tamil Nadu has the privilege of being pioneer in co-operative movement in the country. Co-operatives have been playing a vital role in the economic upliftment of the people, particularly the weaker sections in rural areas during the last hundred decades and more. The different types of co-operatives in the state serve the people in the diverse economic activities. Its growth in Tamil Nadu has been so spectacular that at present, there is particularly no major sphere of economic activity of the people which has not been touched by it.
Upto 1955, all types of co-operative societies in the State were under the administrative control of the Registrar of Co- operative Societies. Since 1956-57, certain types and functions of societies were transferred to the control of other Departments and statutory Boards from time to time, conferring on the Heads of these departments or Boards, as the case may be, the powers that of the Registrar. There are now forteen such Functional Registrars, besides the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
The developmental activities covered by the co-operatives under the control of the Registrar of Co-operative Societies relate to credit for Agricultural Production & Development, Urban credit, Marketing and processing of agricultural produce, Distribution of agricultural inputs and supply of consumer good particularly essential commodities through Consumer cooperatives and implementation of Public Distribution System in the entire State and Co-operative Education, Technical Education and Training and Propaganda / Publicity.
The activities of the cooperative societies in these schemes are furnished in detail in the following chapters.
Cooperative Credit Structure and its Performance
Cooperative credit institutions were evolved mainly to check the usurious practices of the moneylenders and to provide loans to various sections of the population. The short-term rural credit structure consists of three tiers with Tamil Nadu State Apex Cooperative Bank at the state level, district central cooperative banks at the district level and primary agricultural cooperative banks at the village level. The long-term credit structure consists of Tamil Nadu Cooperative State Agriculture and Rural Development Bank at the state level and primary cooperative agriculture and rural development banks at the Taluk / Block level. The cooperative urban banks provide banking services to the people in the towns and cities.
The basic aims of cooperative marketing are to arrange for the marketing of agricultural produce of the agricultural members at a reasonable and remunerative price, to distribute farm inputs to the agriculturists, to advance loans on the pledge of agricultural produce, to undertake processing of the agricultural commodities and to help in better recovery of loans through linking of credit with marketing.
These objectives are fulfilled through 113 primary co-operative marketing societies functioning in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation is the apex institution of cooperative marketing societies in all the districts except Nilgiris, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam. Thanjavur Cooperative Marketing Federation is functioning as apex society for the cooperative marketing societies in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts.
Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation
Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation was started in the year 1959. Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation plays a vital role in the distribution of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The Federation has 38 godowns with a total capacity of 28640 MTs and 15 rental godowns with a total capacity of 4650 MTs. The Tamil Nadu Cooperative Marketing Federation operates two cold storage plants in Chennai, one at Koyambedu Wholesale Market complex with a capacity of 2500 MTs. and another at Basin Bridge with 1350 MTs. capacity.
The Federation acts as an agent of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) for undertaking support price operations in Tamil Nadu. The Federation is also operating a fertilizer plant at Pamani in Tiruvarur District.
Marketing of Agricultural Produce
The cooperative marketing societies assist the farmer members to secure reasonable prices for marketing their agricultural produces. They function as a bridge between producers and consumers.
Organisational set up
Tamil Nadu Consumer Cooperative Federation
Cooperative Wholesale Stores
The 34 cooperative wholesale stores in the state function as lead societies and play a vital role in the functioning of the public distribution system. They take delivery of essential commodities from the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation godowns and distribute them to the public through their own shops and through the shops run by the primary societies.
Primary Cooperative Stores
In the State, there are 3324 primaries, which include students’ cooperative stores, employees' cooperative stores, women cooperative stores and other primary cooperative stores. These primary cooperative stores are engaged in distribution of quality consumer goods at reasonable prices to the public. They also function as the outlets for distribution of essential commodities to the public under the public distribution system.
SPECIAL TYPES OF CO-OPERATIVES
Cooperative Printing Presses
The 26 cooperative printing presses functioning under the Cooperative Department are catering to the printing needs of all cooperatives, government, quasi government agencies, local bodies and the general public in Tamil Nadu. There are 12,688 members in the cooperative printing presses with a paid up share capital of Rs.2.05 crores.
Salt Workers Cooperative Production and Sale Societies
To uplift the living condition of the poor salt workers in the state, salt workers cooperative production and sale societies were formed. At present 11 salt workers cooperative production and sale societies are functioning.
Other Special Types of Societies
At present six barbers' cooperative societies and three washermen cooperative societies are functioning for the economic upliftment of these people from the weaker sections. There are also 34 cooperative canteens functioning in the state. The system of communication has entered into a new era with a lot of changes. To cope with the changes, a new special type of Cooperative society called "Chennai Thuritha Tappal Pattuvada Cooperative Society" has been established in Chennai district.
Labour Contract Cooperative Societies
Labour contract cooperative societies have been formed to eliminate the middlemen between the management and the labour, so that the members are able to get their entitlement of benefits from the management.
Development of Hill Tribes
For the benefit of hill tribes, 19 Large Sized Multi Purpose (LAMP) Cooperative Societies are functioning in Tamil Nadu. These societies have 81650 tribal members and 9841 non-tribal members. These societies provide interest free loans to the tribal people for cultivation and other productive purposes. Government provides financial assistance in the form of subsidy every year under the Tribal Sub Plan to the LAMP cooperative societies under various schemes, such as, share capital subsidy, interest subsidy, transport subsidy and subsidy for drivers pay and maintenance of vehicles.
The details of services rendered by the Lamp societies upto 31-3-2008 during the year 2007-2008 is furnished below.
One of the primary duties of a welfare state is to ensure food security to its people. The government attaches utmost importance to ensure availability of quality rice to all, specifically to the poor and downtrodden at affordable price under the public distribution system. Keeping this in mind, this government immediately after assuming charge issued orders reducing the selling price of rice under public distribution system and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) to Rs.2/- per kg with effect from 3-6-2006.
In Tamil Nadu, the public distribution system is operated through the fair price shops run by Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation and cooperatives. The cooperatives play a prominent role in the distribution of essential commodities to around 1.68 crore cardholders through an extensive network of 21644 fair price shops. In addition to this, the cooperatives are also running 5602 part-time fair price shops and 36 mobile fair price shops to serve the families in remote and inaccessible areas. There are 617 sub-retail outlets run by women and self help groups. The cooperatives also run 266 kerosene bunks to distribute kerosene in the state.
Under AAY scheme, 35 Kgs of rice is distributed to every cardholder per month. In our state 15.41 lakhs people are getting the benefit under this scheme through the fair price shops run by the cooperatives.
Women Fair Price Shops
With the intention of empowering women and enhancing their economic status, the government has ordered for handing over certain fair price shops to women self help groups under the control of the Tamil Nadu Women Development Corporation. As on 31-3-2008, women's self help groups run 617 fair price shops in the state.
Supply of Electronic Weighing Machines to Fair Price Shops
In order to ensure that the consumers get the correct quantity of essential commodities and to prevent under-weighment to the public, all the fair price shops in Tamil Nadu will be provided with electronic weighing machines in a phased manner. During the current year 2365 fair price shops were provided with Electric weighing machines at a total cost of Rs.100 lakhs. Financial assistance to the extent of Rs.11.50 crore has been granted to private electronic weighing machines to 23,600 fair price shops.
INTEGRATED COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
The Integrated Cooperative Development Project (ICDP) is being implemented in select districts with the main objective of improving the infrastructure available with the cooperatives and volume of business of the co-operatives. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided through district central cooperative banks to agriculture and allied sectors like fisheries, poultry, dairy, handloom and rural industries etc. The scheme envisages the development of cooperative at all levels and cooperation among cooperatives to facilitate the overall development. Government provides financial assistance for the implementation of ICDP after availing loan assistance from NCDC.
The scheme is implemented over a period of five years. The ICDP scheme was implemented in the following 10 districts:-
Details of Ongoing Districts
At present ICDP is being implemented in the following four districts.
The detailed projects reports prepared by the consultants in respect of Salem, Erode, Madurai and Pudukkottai have been cleared by the State Level Coordination Committee and the NCDC. The administrative approved for implementation of the scheme in the alone districts is under consideration of the Government. As regards Thirnelveli District, the NCDC has given its approved and the detailed project report is under Examination.
The Government has related Dindigul, Karur, Vellore, Sivagangai and Nagaptattinam districts for implementation of ICDP in the next stage of assistance. The NCDC has given its Commerce for implementation of the scheme in the districts. Draft Project Reports for implementation of the scheme was under preparation by the appointed consultants. The Government has also selected the Nilgiris District for implementation of ICDP and the NCDC has given its approval in principle.
The Tamil Nadu Cooperative Union and the district cooperative unions are performing the functions of cooperative education, training, advertisements and propaganda in the state.
Training programmes are conducted for personnel working in the cooperative sector to upgrade their skills and abilities for achieving excellence in cooperative management and administration. There are 20 cooperative management training institutes in Tamil Nadu. These institutes conduct training in cooperative management, short term computer courses and jewel appraisal. In addition to these, job oriented and need based short term courses are also conducted by these institutes every year for the employees of cooperatives. Correspondence courses are also conducted for those cooperative employees who do not have the requisite cooperative training.
Higher Diploma in Cooperative Management
There are two Institutes for higher diploma in cooperative management, one at Chennai and another at Madurai.
In order to promote self-employment avenues among the unemployed youth, cooperative industrial training institutes are functioning at Bargur in Dharmapuri district, Pattukkottai in Thanjavur district and Tiruchuzhi in Virudhunagar district under the control of the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Union.
To encourage innovative ideas in the cooperative sector, the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Union has created a chair of Rs.5.00 lakh each in the Madras University, Madurai Kamarajar University, Bharathiar University and Annamalai University. Out of the interest earned on the investment of this deposit scholarships are awarded to the students doing research in the field of cooperation. The Tamil Nadu Cooperative Union is maintaining two funds namely Cooperative Research and Development Fund and Cooperative Education Fund. Every cooperative society which earns a profit contributes 3% of the net profit to the Cooperative Research and Development Fund and 2% of the net profit to the Cooperative Education Fund. This fund is utilized for the cooperative research, development, education, training and propaganda of the cooperative principles.
Number of Societies Functioning under the control of Functional Registrars
Number of Cooperative Societies
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