To make the co-operative bank network to become more efficient and compete!

To attend to the co-operative banks and to accelerate credit to the farm sector.

Yes, this was an old proposal but somehow left behind in the current fashions of economic reforms. Even now, see the neglect of agricultural development in the over-all scheme of high profile jargon about the economic reforms. Our current crop of ministers, the bright and the dull, don’t even know what they mean when they talk of economic reforms. The government, led, yes, by an economic expert or experts don’t set out in effective language what they think are the priority sectors. There is no vision, no conviction either. It is all, it seems, just a patchwork of some priorities, often driven, as seen lately, by the interests of various corporate groups! That is one reason for the sudden rush for SEZs! To the exclusion of the whole perspective, whole number of significant interest groups, perhaps the most dominant in our opinion, would be the farming sector. But unfortunately, there is no such view or vision, let alone any basic belief, or conviction!

The government can’t think on a day to day basis! On at least on such a basic economic sector, or in a basic economically important agri sector. You need to create new institutions, new innovations is the key to revamping the most difficult part of the current crises in the agri sector.

Perhaps, India would be the only large country without an apex co-operative bank! There was a proposal made long ago to create a national co-operative bank to manage the very co-operative banks that have a well-established structure up to the state level. But not at the national level.

The state-level co-operative banks, some among them at least are still managed well and there are some dedicated leaders and institutions at the state levels. So too at the district levels. There are still some well-managed, model district co-operative banks that report 100% recovery of their loans and more so the farm credit as well. But it is a great pity that in the din of the current high decibel noise we, the politicians, more so some of the new votaries of economic reforms, including the smart-talking Finance Minister Mr.P.Chidambaram who is smart on rhetoric but very weak on history and so we hear so much about all about the current jargon in the economic reforms agenda, except the word co-operative credit! The very concept of co-operatives, as institutions or as co-operative credit as a fashion in the current finance high-dense  words and phrases and pitches, co-operative sounds so terribly grandmotherly! So, it goes out of the windows of the South and the North Block as well!

Anyway, farm credit, farm debts, and the need to attend to the farm credit woes won’t go away. It would come back and haunt the policy makers at these two blocks on the Rising Hill!

So, we now come back to the new item!

“Centre does a volte-face on credit to co-operatives!”

This is a news headline! Not our language! But the news conveys a deep-rooted problem that bogs down agr sector. That is the very agriculture sector in the whole scheme of the economic development is proving a great headache to the Manmohan Singh government. Now, the government, otherwise long on rhetoric on economic reforms but short on its capacity to accelerate growth with the agri sector proving to be the biggest hurdle to easy talk on liberalizing the economy etc is hiding a big truth. The harsh reality is that in the very way our economic priorities are laid down, sitting in the cozy comfort of an electoral process that enables the PM to preside over a government without getting elected by the people and that contributes to the whole process of undue concentration on the urban Indian realities and that is one reason why all the cries and noises about the poor goes unattended in the scheme of things.

Now, agriculture depends upon timely credit. That is now missing with the very co-operative sector neglected. The latest news is about this reality. The Centre developed; we are now told by the mainstream media, that it has developed cold feet over its own budgetary commitment for making available credit to the co-operative banks for farm credit at 7 per cent.

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