Co-operative Movement in pre-Independence era
- The term cooperative Societies came into existence when the farmers of Poona and Ahmednagar spearheaded an agitation against the money lenders who were charging exorbitant rates of interest. Hence, British government came forward and passed three acts- the Deccan Agriculture Relief Act (1879), the Land Improvement Loan Act (1883) and the Agriculturists Loan Act (1884).
- But Cooperative move came with structure and shape when British enactment of the Cooperative Credit Societies Act, 1904. In 1919, cooperation became a provincial subject and the provinces were authorised to make their own cooperative laws under the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms. This categorization carried on to Government of India Act, 1935. In 1942, Government of British India enacted the Multi-Unit Cooperative Societies Act to cover Cooperative Societies with membership from more than one province.
Co-operative Movement in post-Independence era
India’s first Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru had strong faith in the cooperative movement. In his speech in international seminar on cooperative leadership in South-East Asia he had said “But my outlook at present is not the outlook of spreading the cooperative movement gradually, progressively, as it has done. My outlook is to convulse India with the Cooperative Movement or rather with cooperation to make it, broadly speaking, the basic activity of India, in every village as well as elsewhere; and finally, indeed, to make the cooperative approach the common thinking of India….Therefore, the whole future of India really depends on the success of this approach of ours to these vast numbers, hundreds of millions of people“.
Hence, after independence cooperatives became an integral part of Five-Year Plans.
1. In 1958, the National Development Council (NDC) had recommended a national policy on cooperatives and also for training of personnel’s and setting up of Co-operative Marketing Societies.
2. In 1984, Parliament of India enacted the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act to remove the plethora of different laws governing the same types of societies.
3. The most important success stories lays behind the success of White Revolution which made the country the world’s largest producer of milk and milk products; and Green Revolution and the conversion of villages into model villages have assumed great importance in the wake of the Green Revolution.
4. Government of India announced a National Policy on Co- operatives in 2002. The ultimate objective of the National Policy is to-
(a) Provide support for promotion and development of cooperatives
(b) Reduction of regional imbalances
(c)Strengthening of cooperative education, training and human resource development